Osborne 1

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InfoWorld reported that Osborne's booth at the April 1981 West Coast Computer Faire "was packed for the entire show". Although attendees' opinions were divided—some praised the computer, while others said that the screen was too small—many agreed "that the Osborne 1 represented an advancement of the price/performance ratio for microcomputers", the magazine said. Jerry Pournelle wrote that the small size of the Osborne's screen surprised him by not being a problem, and stated that after using it at Caltech when Voyager 1 arrived at Saturn, "a dozen science writers were ready to go buy an Osborne 1". He added, "I was able to type . . . without disrupting the meeting at all. The Osborne 1 is quiet and efficient and not at all distracting . . . You can't beat it for the price, under $2000 bucks with over a thousand dollars' worth of software. An Osborne and an Epson printer will put you in the computing/word-processing business cheaper than anything I can think of". BYTE stated "If you need a solid, well-supported, well-documented business system at a reasonable price, you should give [the Osborne 1] a great deal of consideration". The reviewer calculated that after subtracting $1530 for the retail price of the bundled software the price of the computer was "only $265 . . . in a way you are getting a software package with a computer thrown in for (almost) free". He praised the quality of the documentation, and agreed with Pournelle that the screen's size did not cause difficulty. James Fallows agreed that the screen, although "the size of a postcard . . . is much easier to read than that would suggest", and described the computer as "the best bargain on computer power in the business".

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