The World’s (Very) First “Netbook”
Netbooks are making huge waves within the hardware and software industries today, but not many would believe that the whole Netbook craze actually started back around 1996 with the Toshiba Libretto 70CT. Termed technically as a subnotebook because of its small dimensions (given below), the computer is the first that fits all of the qualifications of being what we would call a Netbook today, due in part to its built-in Infrared and PCMCIA hardware, and it’s (albeit early) web browsing software.
The hardware includes the two (potentially) wireless PCMCIA and Infrared network connections, Windows 95 OSR 2 with Internet Explorer 2.0, a whole 16MB of RAM and a 120Mhz Intel Pentium processor (we’re flying now!).
A further look at the hardware reveals even more Netbook-ish hardware/software trends (and pictures below), given today’s standards for Netbook qualifications.
The Libretto (70CT) was certainly not the first small (8″) form factor laptop produced in the early 90′s, but it was the first to be considered a Netbook given today’s standards because of it’s PCMCIA and Infrared connections, used for wireless network connectivity and possibly even via a phone card. The inclusion of Internet Explorer 2.0 within the software also contributes to its ability to be officially termed a “Netbook” (more on this below).
The hardware includes an 8″ wide, 5″ deep and almost 1.5″ form factor containing a whopping 16MB of RAM, a 120Mhz Intel Pentium processor (with added MMX technology!) and a whole 30-45 minutes of battery life.
The software running on the “Netbook” is Windows 95 OSR2, with Included Internet Explorer 2.0 and the Windows 95 Plus! pack of software. The mouse is the nub/nipple/clit mouse, given the lack of trackpad hardware and the only alternative being the bulky ball-based mice of the time, and the actual mouse buttons are mounted on the back.
Other hardware besides what was listed above includes a (HiFi?) 1/4″ sound port on the back, a mono speaker on the front above the mouse, and a proprietary docking port on the bottom.
The Pentium MMX and bulky battery connector doesn’t exactly make this ACPI-lacking portable the most environmentally-friendly book of all time, but it is certain that it must have gotten the job done in its time.
The screen was a very low-resolution (640×480) 5″ LCD screen, leaving enough room on the front for the mouse, speaker, power button, and all-too-important logos of Intel and Toshiba.
While I write this largely with humorous intent, it is worth noting the satire I intend to make of the industry’s buzzwords for modern products that sometimes have been out for quite a while, e.g. cloud computing versus clustering/distributed applications and “high-speed Internet” versus what a T1/ATM connection was over decade ago.
Also, something patent trolls working for Toshiba might wish to investigate are the 22 patents listed on the bottom of the Libretto model (pictured below). What these patents cover and how many modern netbooks/subnotebooks violate these are unknown to me, although I’m sure you could find a few with the right research as these patents were approved less than 25 years ago.
These (possibly slow-loading) pictures display several features of the computer, displaying as many of its features as possible (and probably killing our bandwidth):
Behind The Coffee Desk’s Scenes
Yeah, I was typing another article on Apple, and while suffering mild writer’s block I looked around and saw this Libretto laying partially under my desk. Being a bit of a netbook advocate, I picked it up, dusted it off and after looking at it and comparing it to Asus Netbook pics, I saw a better potential article. So I grabbed my camera and this article was born.
I didn’t mean to inject so much Sprint product-placement into the site, but I just wanted to show pictures of it with the PCMCIA phone card just for comparison.
Also, it can run Linux, as demonstrated via its appearance in the movie Revolution OS.
This isn’t how most of The Coffee Desk’s stories are written, and I usually collaborate with the other writers for official posts, but I just couldn’t pass this one up. I hope everyone enjoys this article from both a satirical, humorous and (somewhat) informational perspective, as that is what it was intended to be.
And if you enjoyed it, then by all means vote for it in the sidebar to the right!