Computers in the 1980s (2023)

Computers in the 1980s (1)

key points

  • During this decade, the metamorphosis of the microchip resulted in computers with better designs, features, speed, and technology.
  • This era was also marked by the appearance of two new competitors on the scene, Microsoft and Apple.
  • The 1980s were also marked by the production of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the LaserJet printer, and the Apple Macintosh.

The keyword for the history of computers in the 1980s is "microprocessor🇧🇷 Although these vital little chips had appeared on the scene many years earlier, the microprocessor nearly regained its useful life between 1980 and 1989. It has gone through many advancements over the decade that have effectively raised overall capabilities, design, speed, and reliability. technology. ofcomputer🇧🇷 One of the best computers of the 80s from the mind ofBill GatesoLitterto the advances of the personal computer and the home computer, these are the most notable events in the history of computers in the 1980s.


in bright colors

Each new decade brought humanity closer and closer to the computers we know and use today. The 1980s were no exception. In the summer of 1980, Tandy launched theTRS-80Color computer. A personal computer based on a Motorola processor and rooted in Microsoft'sBASIC programming language, Tandy's computer resources featured colorful graphics and computer games. It effectively acted as a bridge between the capabilities of a home computer and the capabilities of computer games.

hard drive hardware

Also in 1980, Seagate Technology introduced the ST506: the first microcomputerHDD🇧🇷 A big step fromdiskette, the hard drive can handle up to five megabytes of storage (more than five times as much as a floppy disk, taking up the same size of space as a floppy disk).

crazy about home computers

The rise of home computers wasn't just an American thing, it was happening in the UK too. EITHERSinclair ZX80, released in 1980, sold as a kit for £79 and assembled for £99. More than 50,000 people got their hands on this tiny personal computer that had to be connected to a television in one person's home as a monitor.


get acquainted

In 1981, the BBC - through itsComputer Literacy Project— launched a television show focused on introducing adults to the vast world and seemingly endless possibilities of the home computer. Complete with its own BBC microcomputer system and everything else, the show allowed viewers to follow the show almost like a step-by-step tutorial. The corresponding BBC microcomputer came with a lot of useful software, including productivity tools, educational programs and video games.

Meet the personal computer

There is no doubt thatIBMthe creation ofpersonal computerin 1981 was one of the most important events in the history of computing so far. (And not just in the 1980s, its importance goes well beyond the decade.) Here are the facts: IBM's first personal computer (or PC) came loaded with the Intel 8088, a 4.77 MHz microprocessor, just like Microsoft's newly created. advertised processor MS-OFOperating system. IBM's invention of the personal computer revolutionized the personal computer, the work computer, the home computer, and computer history as a whole. When it comes to the best computers of the 1980s, the IBM PC takes the cake.

go to work

oApolloit had been successful in previous decades, but the 1980s saw the debut of the DN100: the first Apollo workstation for the science and engineering fields. Equipped with a Motorola 68000 microprocessor, as well as its integrated network and high-resolution display, the Apollo dominated the workstation world for the rest of the 1980s.

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The power of the laptop

oOsborne 1The release in 1981 marked the first mass-produced laptop. Priced at nearly $1,800 for a five-inch screen, 64KB of memory storage, and a couple of floppy drives, it might not have been the most practical purchase, but it sure was portable.

Advancing to the Internet

September 1981 saw the establishment of theTCP/IPprotocol. Although it seems fairly common based on its simple name, this protocol single-handedly established the ability for information to be transmitted over the network.Internet🇧🇷 Today we would be lost without him.


Commodore's Conquest

Computers in the 1980s (2)

In January 1982, Commodore released theCommodore 64🇧🇷 A titan of speed, technology, design and storage, the computer was created in just a few months. With 64K ofTAKEand 16K of switchable ROM, the Commodore 64 (or C64) sold approximately 20 million units in 1992. It was the best-selling computer model of all time and arguably one of the best computers of the 1980s.

Here comes the Sun

Short for Stanford University Network, Sun Microsystems was born out of a simple loan. Stanford graduate student Andy Bechtolsheim made theAltoEthernet network and laser printer that Xerox PARC had installed in the engineering department and redesigned for the Stanford computer network. This small action led Bechtolsheim and his colleagues Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy to create a workstation model with aUNIXOperating system,ethernetand high-resolution graphics in one. Sun quickly became a legitimate competitor to even the biggest names and brands like Bill Gates and Apple.


Meet Lisa

In January 1983, Apple introduced Lisa to the world. However, Lisa was not a person. Lisa was the first personal computer with aGUI (graphical user interface)to be commercialized in mass. While its creation turned out to be a pivotal moment in the final push for GUIs on PCs, Lisa's slow speed and mammoth $10,000 price tag meant it was bound to be unpopular. Despite all its pros and cons, Lisa's impact on the future of the PC is too great to dismiss the invention as a complete failure.

the disc arrives

It's hard to imagine a world without CDs (and CD-ROMs), but before 1983, that was the reality. Initially developed by Sony and Philips to store and distribute music, the CD ended up also being used by computer and electronics companies to store information and software.

The Compaq Compact

Described to the general public as the first 100% IBM PC compatible computer, Compaq Computer Corporation's Compaq Portable was an IBM PC clone capable of running the same software for a lower price. The company quickly surpassed $100 million in sales, the most an American company had made in a year at the time.

welcome to windows

Bill Gates and his company Microsoft had a great year in 1983. Since the announcement ofMicrosoft WindowsUntil the release of Microsoft Word, it was clear that this company was making the kind of breakthrough that would cement it as a true computing powerhouse.

(Video) Retro Commercials - Computers of the '80s!

DNS debuts and the Internet comes to life

Similar to the establishment of the TCP/IP protocol in 1981, the introduction of DNS in 1983 brought the world much closer to the Internet we know and trust today. Briefly,DNSis the structured naming system that the Internet uses to identify computers accessible over the Internet. It is with this introduction that many consider the official beginning of the Internet as we know it.


Apple Macintosh Launch

Not long after the trial and error that was Lisa, Apple took the pros and cons of its previous product launch and turned it into theApple Macintosh🇧🇷 The first GUI computer to successfully use amouse, the Macintosh was born from the Motorola 68000 microprocessor and sold for a low price of $2,500.

LaserJet decoration

Between the release ofHewlett PackardJet laserprinting machinein 1984 and a decade later, HP managed to sell more than 10 million printers. This one invention effectively secured his status as a pillar of the computer industry. The inkjet technology pioneered here is still in use today.

invented in a flash

Flash memoryIt first appeared in Japan in 1984. Invented by Fuji Masuoka, flash memory could be repeatedly erased and reprogrammed and quickly gained popularity in the computer industry.


C++ is an A+

1985 saw the launch of theprogramming language C++, designed to appeal to both serious programmers and hobbyists. A general purpose language, C++ made it possible to write difficult programs with relative ease. It was a huge success.

Launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System

Computers in the 1980s (3)

While it may seem hard to believe, the video game market in the United States was unstable for much of the early and mid-1980s.consoles, games and brands came and went after very poor performance, and it was not entirely clear where this technology would go from there. Then one of the most well-known brands appeared and launched a success: Thenintendo entertainment system🇧🇷 With that, the American video game industry started to work again.


The battle of the PCs

Compaq, Apple, IBM, Amstrad, Sinclair... each of these brands with their PC, each of these brands with their pros and cons, each of these brands fighting to be the best-selling PC on the market. From Apple to IBM, from Compaq to Amstrad, 1986 saw the big names fight tooth and nail to stand out with continuous improvements to their already successful PCs. Consumers knew all the facts, knew all the features, and knew the ins and outs. As such, each brand has started to establish a sizable following. That loyalty would continue through the rest of the '80s and beyond.


take the duct tape

pearl— or Practical Extraction and Report Language — was written by Larry Wall in 1987. Designed to enable report processing as well as scanning and extracting text files for automatic report generation, Perl was easy to use and helped Speed ​​up the programming process. While you may not have heard of it before, it soon became embedded in almost every corner of computing and is jokingly known as the duct tape of the Internet.

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Optical chips see the light of day

While electrons are still considered the standard for calculating bandwidth, a push was seen in 1988 for photons to be used instead. With the invention of optics.switches, some hoped that light could be used to increase processing speed instead of electricity. Although it didn't catch on immediately, it was like a first step towardsoptical fiber.

The next step for Steve Jobs

After being fired from his position at Apple in 1985 after the failure of Lisa,steve jobs, now operating under the NeXT company, introduced a new computer in 1988. Called NeXT, the computer had three microprocessors and 8 MB of RAM. It had an innovative object orientation.Operating systemcapable of multitasking, making it a real selling point for programmers and developers and a real threat to Apple at the time.


An Internet network with 100,000 hosts and a World Wide Web emerge

The launch of the Internet in 1983 did not necessarily explode in popularity. It took a while, but in 1989 the Internet finally reached 100,000 hosts. This benchmark was unprecedented at the time and showed the world that this was not just a fad – the internet is here to stay. This was further accentuated with the appearance of a proposal for theWorld Wide Webin Switzerland (and, not long after, all over the world).

portable and portable

with the release ofnintendo game boyand the release of the Macintosh Portable in 1989 showed consumers and developers alike that the next decade would bring an emphasis on convenience, portability, and portable features. Smaller, better, faster, stronger, and more affordable were the true pillars of technological advancement at the time, and these priorities would come to the fore in the 1990s.

To be continued...

For more on computers through the decades, check out:

  • Computers in the 1970s: This decade saw the advent of the personal computer. Find out exactly what that meant and which brands dominated the tech space.
  • Computers in the 1990ss: This era was dedicated to improving the overall performance of computers. Find out how computing has metamorphosed over this decade.
  • Computers in the 2000s: It was the decade of the iPhone, Google and virtual currency. Discover other key trends that defined this era.

Frequently Asked Questions About Computers in the 1980s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What were computers like in the 1980s?

In the 1980s, most middle-class American homes had a personal computer. People could play games, perform simple administrative tasks, and store data on removable drives like the floppy disk. They were faster, smaller, and easier to use than decades before, but they were still a long way from the computers we know and use today.

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What were computers used for in the 1980s?

Computers were used to talk with associates on your company or office network, play games, and run basic administrative programs such as word processors or spreadsheets.

How have innovations in computer technology since the 1980s improved the standard of living?

These computing innovations throughout the 1980s improved the standard of living by putting advanced, cutting-edge technology in the hands of people, enabling them to simplify tasks and connect with the world around them more easily than ever before. prior to.

What were the most popular home computers in the 1980s?

The Commodore 64 was far from the most popular home computer in the 1980s, but the Apple Macintosh, ZX80, IBM PC, and BBC Micro all sold very well as well.

What were the most popular computer games of the 1980s?

The most popular computer games of the 1980s included Oregon Trail, Prince of Persia, Microsoft Flight Simulator, SimCity, and many other classics that are still releasing new editions today.

(Video) Terminal Madness (A 1980 Documentary About Personal Computers)


What was the 1980s computer called? ›

Commodore introduces the VIC-20

Commodore releases the VIC-20 home computer as the successor to the Commodore PET personal computer. Intended to be a less expensive alternative to the PET, the VIC-20 was highly successful, becoming the first computer to sell more than a million units.

What was the most popular computer in the 80s? ›

Commodore 64

With over 17 million units sold, this is the most popular home computer model of all time. For most of the 1980s, the C64 dominated the low-end computer market in the United States. The C64 accounted for between 30% and 40% of ALL home computers sold in the mid-1980s.

What is the history of computer in 1980s? ›

The 1980s saw the birth and proliferation of the first personal computers, including the IBM PS/1 and PS2 and the Macintosh. The MIDI and CD-ROM were also developed during this decade. Within the Computer Society, the growth of the seventies continued in every function, but with new dimensions and changing emphasis.

How common were computers in the 80s? ›

About 15 million adults (9.1 percent) had a computer at home, and, of those over half (53.3 percent) used it.

What was the popular home computer in the 1980s? ›

Commodore 64

Well, it turns out that the Commodore 64 was one of the best selling home computers ever. It had up to 40% of the market for a large chunk of the 1980s, selling millions of computers. The 64 refers to its 64 kilobytes of RAM.

What was the most popular computer in 1984? ›

Microsoft introduced MS-DOS 3.0 for the IBM PC AT and MS-DOS 3.1 for networks in 1984. The Tandy 1000 personal computer was introduced and becomes the best-selling IBM-compatible computer of the year.

What computers were in schools in the 80s? ›

Of course, the Apple II wasn't the only computer to be found in schools. Many districts (and individual schools) experimented with popular home computer models of the day, including those from TI, Radio Shack/Tandy, Atari, and Commodore.

Did people have computers in the 80s? ›

By the time the 1980s came to an end, it was unusual for a household to be without a personal computer. People were using them to play games and many other things, such as talk with others in the office network and other business-related applications.

What technology happened in the 1980s? ›

The release of Nintendo GameBoy and NES, the rise of Sony Walkman and Trinitron TVs, the popularity of Casio calculator watch, and the craze for the Video Home System or VHS define the eventful ten years to a large extent.

What operating system was used in the 80s? ›

MS-DOS, in full Microsoft Disk Operating System, the dominant operating system for the personal computer (PC) throughout the 1980s. The acquisition and marketing of MS-DOS were pivotal in the Microsoft Corporation's transition to software industry giant.

What advances were made in computing in 1980s? ›

Soon there were thousands of hardware and software companies competing in the PC space. During the '80s, Intel released the 80286, the 80386 and then the 80486 -- a 32-bit processor which had more than a million transistors on a single chip, a clock speed of 25 MHz and a 4-gigabyte memory space.

Did laptops exist in the 80s? ›

By the end of the 1980s, laptop computers were becoming popular among business people. The 16-bit COMPAQ SLT/286 debuted in October 1988, being the first battery-powered laptop to support an internal hard disk drive and a VGA compatible LCD screen. It weighed 14 lb (6.4 kg).

Did they have touch screens in the 80s? ›

1984: Bob Boie

Touchscreens became extensively commercialized in the early 1980s. When Bell Labs' Bob Boie created the first transparent multitouch screen interface, it significantly advanced multitouch technology.

Were there touch screens in the 80s? ›

The advent of the 1980's saw the development of the first multi-functional touch screen devices. As the term suggests, it refers to the ability of the monitor surface (for instance a digital product catalogue) to respond to one, two or more points of contact.

What computers were around in 1982? ›

VIC-20 and Commodore 64

The best-selling personal computer of all time was released by Commodore International in 1982. The Commodore 64 sold over 17 million units. The C64 name derived from its 64 KB of RAM. It used the 6510 microprocessor, a variant of the 6502, made by MOS Technology then owned by Commodore.

What computers were available in 1985? ›

New computer products and services introduced in 1985. On January 4th at CES, Atari introduces the Atari 130XE, 130ST, 260ST, 520ST, 65XE, 65XEM, and 65XEP computers. Adobe PageMaker was released in 1985. Apple released the LaserWriter printer for the Macintosh computer in 1985.

What computers were around in 1987? ›

Major computer events in 1987
  • IBM introduced the PS/2 personal computer with improved graphics, a 3.5-inch diskette drive, proprietary bus to help prevent clones, and a bidirectional 8-bit port.
  • CompuServe introduced the GIF standard and images in 1987.
  • IBM introduced VGA in 1987.
Oct 18, 2022

What was the best selling computer in 1982? ›

Commodore 64, the First Cheap Home Computer, and the Best-Selling Computer of its Time. . Between 1982 and 1984 30,000,000 units were sold, making it the best-selling personal computer model of this era.

What computers existed in 1983? ›

Apple introduces the Lisa computer

The Lisa ran on a Motorola 68000 microprocessor and came equipped with 1 MB of RAM, a 12-inch black-and-white monitor, dual 5.25-inch floppy disk drives and a 5 MB “Profile” hard drive.

What computer was introduced in 1981? ›

IBM's own Personal Computer (IBM 5150) was introduced in August 1981, only a year after corporate executives gave the go-ahead to Bill Lowe, the lab director in the company's Boca Raton, Fla., facilities. He set up a task force that developed the proposal for the first IBM PC.

What were computers like in 1984? ›

Apple Computer launches the Macintosh

The Macintosh was the first successful mouse-driven computer with a graphical user interface and was based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor. Its price was $2,500.

What was the first computer in 1980? ›

On January 3, 1980, Hewlett-Packard introduced its HP-85 (codename Project Capricorn). The microcomputer had 16 KB of RAM, a 32 KB ROM, a 5-inch CRT display, a built-in printer, tape drive, and keyboard, and was sold for $3,250. IBM introduced RISC.

What did they call old computers? ›

Early personal computers – generally called microcomputers – were sold often in electronic kit form and in limited numbers, and were of interest mostly to hobbyists and technicians.

What computer was used in 1985? ›

New computer products and services introduced in 1985. On January 4th at CES, Atari introduces the Atari 130XE, 130ST, 260ST, 520ST, 65XE, 65XEM, and 65XEP computers. Adobe PageMaker was released in 1985. Apple released the LaserWriter printer for the Macintosh computer in 1985.

What was the computer in 1984? ›

Apple Computer launches the Macintosh

The Macintosh was the first successful mouse-driven computer with a graphical user interface and was based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor. Its price was $2,500.

Were there computers around 1980? ›

New computer products and services introduced in 1980

On January 3, 1980, Hewlett-Packard introduced its HP-85 (codename Project Capricorn). The microcomputer had 16 KB of RAM, a 32 KB ROM, a 5-inch CRT display, a built-in printer, tape drive, and keyboard, and was sold for $3,250.

What are the four early computers? ›

Machines such as the Z3, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, the Colossus computers, and the ENIAC were built by hand, using circuits containing relays or valves (vacuum tubes), and often used punched cards or punched paper tape for input and as the main (non-volatile) storage medium.

What are three famous computer companies from the 1980s? ›

IBM, Apple Computer Inc. and "PC clone" companies like Compaq Computer were enjoying heady growth themselves. Foreseeing how the PC would be used in offices, Prime Computer founder Bill Poduska in 1981 unleashed the first-ever computer workstation into the market from his new company, Apollo Computer.

What computers were available in 1986? ›

Compaq introduced the first 386-based PC compatible computer in 1986. MS-DOS 3.2 was released in April 1986. CVS was first introduced in 1986. BITNET II was created in 1986.

What computers were used in 1989? ›

The first palmtop computers were the DIP Pocket PC and the Atari Portfolio, both available to users starting in 1989. VCPI (Virtual Control Program Interface) was introduced in 1989.

What computer did Jerry Seinfeld use? ›

Over the course of Seinfeld's 9 seasons, Jerry's apartment frequently showed off various models of the Macintosh. Everything from the Mac SE/30 to a PowerBook Duo with Duo Dock, to the 20th Anniversary Macintosh were featured on the show.

Was there Internet in 1994? ›

According to some estimates, there were just 10,000 websites and two million computers connected to the Internet -- small potatoes compared to today's 45 billion web pages and roughly four billion web users. In 1994, Amazon, Yahoo! and Mosaic Communications (later Netscape) were in the beginning stages.

What computers existed in 1988? ›

MS-DOS 4.0 was released in July 1988. Microsoft Office was first introduced on August 1, 1988. Steve Jobs unveiled the NeXT computer on October 12, 1988. Sega released its first gaming console system, the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive in Japan), in Japan on October 29, 1988, and later in North America on August 14, 1989.

What computer was out in 1988? ›

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveils the NeXT Cube

The computer he created, an all-black cube was an important innovation. The NeXT had three Motorola microprocessors and 8 MB of RAM. Its base price was $6,500.


1. LGR - Strangest Computer Designs of the '80s
2. The Computer Chronicles - Laptops (1989)
(The Computer Chronicles)
4. Imagine Buying A Computer In 1994. This Is Exactly What It was Like
(David Hoffman)
5. 1980s USA, Kids Being Interviewed About Computers, Retro Technology
6. The Best Home Computers of the 1980s


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