Hewlett-Packard HP 110 “The Portable” Laptop PC

The HP 110
Source: HP, 1984

Hewlett-Packard did not have broad success with portables until it introduced the HP 110 laptop. Some HP literature referred to the 110 as simply “The Portable”. It offered good performance in a small but practical package. At nine pounds, it was one of the more petite laptops of the time.

The HP 110 came with a built-in software suite including communications software
Source: HP, 1984

The HP 110 had a software suite in ROM that included a graphical user interface, word processor, and the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program. It also had a terminal emulation program, through which users could share files with other computers. HP claimed that this enabled “a new kind of computing in which programs and data are always present, wherever The Portable is carried.”

HP 110 owners could share files with the IBM PC
Source: HP, 1984

A portable, battery-powered Thinkjet printer and HP 9114A 3.5-inch floppy disk drive were available as options. The HP 9114A was notable as HP claimed it was the first that could read and write from both sides of the disk, effectively doubling capacity.

HP 110 Plus with Thinkjet printer and HP 9114A disk drive
Source: HP, 1986

In 1985, a Plus version of the 110 was introduced with greater RAM and ROM capacity and improved graphics resolution.

Introduced: May 1984
Original Retail Price: $2,995
Base Configuration: 5.44MHz 80C86, MS-DOS 2.01, 272K RAM, 384K ROM, monochrome LCD, integral keyboard, RS-232C and HP-IL ports, Lotus 1-2-3 and MemoMaker in ROM, carrying case, internal modem, owner’s and software manuals, AC adapter, lead-acid batteries, battery charger
Video: 16-line x 80-column text, 480 x 128 graphics
Size/Weight: 13 x 10 x 3 inches, 9 lbs.
Important Options: HP 911A 3.5-inch external floppy disk drive, HP 2225B printer, leather carrying case

HP LaserJet: First Laser Printer for the PC

Xerox invented the laser printer, but Hewlett-Packard made it a commercial success. The LaserJet, introduced at Spring Comdex 1984, used the same Canon CX print engine as Apple’s LaserWriter. Unlike Apple, HP developed its own Printer Command Language (PCL) rather than Adobe’s PostScript.

Source: HP, 1984

The LaserJet was much faster and quieter than other printing technologies of the time, and it produced better output. HP claimed it was eight times faster than a typical daisywheel printer with an eight-page-per-minute print rate.

As with the AppleWriter in the Apple market, the LaserJet led the way for laser printers to become the technology of choice for high-end printing applications in the PC market. Unfortunately, laser printers came with their own set of quirks to frustrate users, including driver and application compatibility issues. The printer destroyed in this famous scene from the movie Office Space was a laser printer.

Introduced: May 22, 1984
Original Retail Price: $3,495
Print rate: 8 ppm
Print resolution: 300-by-300 dpi