January 7, 2009 / 12:14 AM / 11 years ago

TIMELINE: Key dates in the history of the personal computer

TAIPEI (Reuters) - This year will likely be the first year that laptop PC sales will outstrip those of desktop PCs.

Here are some landmark dates in the history of personal computers which evolved from heavy desktop computers in the 1970s to the light-weight laptops introduced over the past few years:

* 1975: IBM launches the IBM 5100, the first computer to look like the modern desktop model complete with a QWERTY keyboard, display and mass storage on tape all found within a single case.

* 1975: Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

* 1976: Apple Computer, founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, launches the Apple I computer, selling about 200 units.

* 1981: IBM launches its IBM Personal Computer, running on Microsoft’s DOS operating system.

* 1981: The Osborne 1, the first commercially available portable personal computer, is launched with a 5” monitor. The computer weighed 23.5 pounds and cost $1,800.

* 1983: Apple launches the Lisa operating system, one of the first operating systems to use a graphical user interface.

* 1983: Compaq launches the Compaq Portable, the first IBM-PC compatible portable computer that sold for more than $3,500 and weighed 12.5kg (28lbs).

* 1985: Microsoft introduces its Windows operating system.

* 1988: Compaq launches the SLT/286, retailing for $5,399, the first foldable laptop.

* 1989: The Sound Blaster card, released by Creative Technology, brings sound into the personal computer.

* 1991: Apple launches its PowerBook series, the first portable personal computer to have room for a palm rest and a trackball that most closely resembles those found in today’s laptops.

* 2002: The one billionth computer is sold, data research firm Gartner says.

* 2007: Asustek launches a lightweight low-cost notebook, known as netbooks.

* 2008: Laptop shipments overtake those of desktops for the first time on a quarterly basis in the third quarter of 2008.

Sources: Various sources, including company websites, research reports and other media sites.

Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Megan Goldin

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