Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Poqet PC (1989)

Poqet PC Plus
Introduced October 1989

By the end of the 1980s it was just possible to squeeze a fully-specified personal computer into something the size of a book. Atari had done just that with the Portfolio launched in mid-1989, but that made quite a lot of compromises along the way. In October the same year, Poqet Computer Corporation launched their Poqet PC, a tiny computer which was the closest thing yet to a PC you could fit in your pocket.

A little bit heavier than the Atari, the Poqet PC had a much better specification. The screen was capable of displaying full MDA or CGA-compatible graphics, inside was 512KB or 640KB of RAM with a 7MHz 80C88 processor, there were two PCMCIA slots and the Pocket PC ran MS-DOS 3.3. Two AA batteries were enough to power the Poqet PC for weeks due to some very clever power management.

Although it wasn’t a powerful system per se, it was a pretty capable PC/XT compatible system, similar to those desktop that were still selling well in the late 1980s. At this point, most PCs ran plain old DOS programs as Windows had not yet broken through into the market.

Although it was undoubtedly a better system than the Portfolio, it was also hugely more expensive. The Atari cost around $400, the Poqet was $2000 (around $4000 today). Still, it was a niche success for people who needed full PC compatibility in an ultraportable form factor.

Poqet ended up being bought by Fujitsu who stuck with the Poqet brand for a while before folding it into their own notebook line. Today, Poqet PCs are quite collectable with prices ranging between £300 and £800 depending on features and condition.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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