Hyperion (computer)

The Hyperion is an old laptop that rivaled the Compaq Portable to be the first compatible IBM notebook. It was marketed by Infotech Co. of Ottawa, a subsidiary of Bytec Management Corp., which acquired the designer and manufacturer Dynalogic in January 1983. In 1984, the design was authorized by Commodore International in a move that was intended as a “Radical change of position”. “and a signal that Commodore would soon dominate the PC-compatible market.While computers are” hand-assembled from kits “provided by Bytec and presented alongside the Commodore 900 at a German show as their first laptop, they were never sold by Commodore and some analysts have downplayed the deal.The Hyperion was shipped in January 1983 at $ 4995 CAN, two months before the Compaq Portable.

The name “Hyperion” was coined by Taylor-Sprules Corporation in Toronto. They also designed the color retail packaging, all marketing materials and the Comdex show exhibition in Atlantic City where Hyperion was introduced in 1982. Two prototypes were presented. The amber graphic displays and the integrated modem were noteworthy features that prompted comments at the show.

The machine was equipped with 256 MB of RAM, two 5.25-inch 360-KB floppy disk drives, a CGA and HGC-compatible graphics card, a video output jack, an amber CRT built-in 7-inch, 300-bit / s modem It included a version of MS-DOS called H-DOS and word processor, database and modem, while Hyperion only weighed 8.2 kg, about 2/3 of the weight of Compaq. The difference with the IBM system was the use of a Zilog Z80-SIO chip instead of an Intel 8251 for serial communications.

H-DOS was remarkable and is of historical importance because it featured a simple menu system. The cursor keys under the 7 “screen corresponded to five menu items displayed at the bottom of the screen. This menu was context sensitive and greatly facilitated the entry of DOS commands. All but the least frequently used commands were available. as F-key menu selections, and This user interface was comparable to the many DOS shell programs available at the time, but worked much more easily thanks to the concept of the programmable key.The softkeys were also present in the processing of text, database, and modem software provided with Hyperion, where they were used to select application commands from context menus.

The initial interest for the Hyperion was high. A backlog of $ 25 million (US) has accumulated and plans have been developed to manufacture most units in the United States. However, incompatibility with the IBM PC was a concern for buyers, as many programs at that time made direct calls to the system ROM, and the video display and serial port used different integrated circuits than the IBM PC. Dynalogic was absorbed by Bytec in early 1983. Bytec in turn was merged into Comterm at the end of 1983. Defective drives created warranty claims for computers built at the Huntsville, Alabama plant. . The computer was removed from commercialization in late 1984, with a $ 48 million loss to the company.

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