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© System Source

Atari Portfolio

Processor:
Intel 80C88 @ 4.92MHz
Storage:
Internal RAM and disk RAM cards (640K max)
Operating System:
DIP DOS 2.11
Weight:
17.5 oz
Company:
Atari
Memory:
128 kB of RAM and 256 kB of ROM
Designer:
Ian Cullimore with David Frodsham and Peter Baldwin
Price:
US $399.95
Year:
1989
In June 1989, the Atari Portfolio is the first palmtop PC compatible with IBM PC and was released by Atari Corporation.The Portfolio is 7.5 in x 4 in x 1.25 in, which about the same size as a VHS VCR tape and was the first of its size. Using an Intel 80C88 processor it runs at 4.9152 MHz with a "DIP Operating System 2.11" (DIP DOS) that mostly compatible to MS-DOS 2.11. The screen is a gray on gray monochrome LCD with a backlight that holds 240x64 pixels or up to 40 characters x 8 lines. three AA size removable alkaline batteries power the Portfolio, yet there is a optional AC adapter.

The Portfolio comes with these built-in applications: diary, calculator, text editor, spreadsheet (Lotus 1-2-3 compatible), time, and address/phone book manager that has the ability to dial telephone numbers by playing touch-tones through the speaker. With the purchase of expansion, you could add programs like chess, file manager, and finance manager. Also, most text-based MS-DOS apps can run on the Portfolio. Another feature includes an expansion port for a parallel, serial, modem, or MIDI modules and a BeeCard expansion port for removable memory (in capacities up to 4 MB). You could add in other optional expansions units, like a floppy drive and memory expansion. With a modem connection module or a direct telephone connection the Portfolio converts into a miniature computer terminal. If connected to a PC by way of parallel cable files can be transferred between the two computers.

The Atari Portfolio is still popular today as some people value it strict simplicity. Also, several hacks have been put to use to update it, including a Flash modification. On a side note, at the peak of popularity, the Atari Portfolio appears in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In the movie, young John Carter uses it to bypass security codes on an ATM with a ribbon cable.