ZP-150



The ZP-150 was one of the early commercially available portable computers. It was released in late 1984 by Zenith data systems and sold by Heathkit.

The ZP-150 was offered for US$1995 when bundled with the $800 Microsoft Works software, but could be found in the Fall 1985 Heathkit catalog for US$1195. The price came down to $999 in the Winter 1986 edition of the same catalog and $699 in the Fall 1987 edition, as it was being phased out with the release of the Z-181 and Z-183. The main target market was the U.S. government and “the mobile executive”, for on-site applications. Its relatively small dimensions and light weight allowed it to be easily carried in a standard briefcase or the included carrying case.

The ZP-150 came with a built-in System Manager and calculator program, as well as a special version of Microsoft Works 1.10 stored in ROM. Most programs are very similar to the desktop versions, but with reduced functionality.

The most significant aspect of the ZP-150’s history is that it is not remembered as one of the first portable computers, despite its relatively early appearance in the marketplace and being referred to in advertising as a “laptop”. Like the IBM PC and Apple II computers, the ZP-150 was quickly copied. The most well-known clone is the Tandy 600, which was very similar in packaging, software, and hardware except for the addition of a floppy drive and the lacking of BASIC. This was not the first laptop that Tandy manufactured, but was one in the TRS-80 line.



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