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What was the first Personal Computer

Updated on September 27, 2015

The History of the PC

Do you wonder how big the first personal computer was, or how the first portable computer weighed? Computers are such an integral part of our that we don't often stop to think about how far they've come or where they got their start. But in just 30 years, computers have evolved from expensive, huge machines that only corporations owned to small, powerful devices found in millions of homes.In this article, we look at the history of the computer.

The Altair: The genesis of Personal Computers

Our journey through the history of the personal compuuter begins in 1975. At the time, most people were unfamiliar the mainframes and supercomputers that large corporations and the government pocessed, having outrageous price tags making them inaccessible to just anyboby. This begn to change when the january 1975 cover of Popular Electronics announced the debut of the Altair 8800, touted as the first personal computer for just a moderately reasonable price.

The Altair was a very primitive computer, with just 256 bytes of memory. It didn't come with a keyboard, nor did it include a monitor or a printer. Switches on the front of the machine were used to enter data in unfriendly machine code;in strings of 1s and 0s. Flashing liights on the fornt indicated the results of a program. Definitely, user-friendly compatibility was not thought of in it's design, coparing it to today's standards.

Despite it limitations computer enthusiasts flocked to the machine. Many who bought the Altair had been taught to program, but until that point had acces only big, clumsy computers. They were often hired by corporations to program "boring" financial, statistical, or engineering programs in a workplace environment. The Altair offered these enthusiasts the opportunity to create their own programs. Within three months, Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the company behind the Altair, received 4000 orders for the machine.

The release of the Altair marked the start of the personal computetr (PC) boom! In fact, two men who would play large roles in the development of the personal computer were among the first Altairowners. Recent high school grads Bill Gates and Paul Allen were so enamored by this "minicomputer", as these were called at a time, that they wrote a compiling program for the Altair; the program that translates user commands into those that the computer can understand. The two friends later convinced its developer,Ed Roberts, to buy their program. This marked the start of a small company called Microsoft.

The Altair 8800


Genesis of PC's:the Altair

3 stars for The Altair: The first PC

What if?

Let's all ask our selfs, what would the world be like if the Altair had never been in existence?

The Altairs name

Was the name Altair catchy enough?

See results

User-friendly it was not.

Why Was It Called "Altair"?

For lack of a better name, the Altair's developers originally called the computer PE-8, short for Popular Electoronics 8-bit. However, Les Soloman, the Popular Electonics Writer who introduced the Altair, wanted the machine to have a catchier name. The author's daughter, who was watching star trek at the time, suggested the name Altair which was where the Star Trek crew was traveling that week. The First star of the PC industry was born.

The Altair: PC's Genesis

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