The Kaypro II was the first computer released by Non-Linear Systems,
in 1982. Non-Linear Systems was founded by Andy Kay in 1952.
But they didn’t make computers back then, they made digital multimeters. You see, Andy Kay is the inventor of the digital multimeter.
The Kaypro II is unusual because the entire case is made out of metal. Kaypro’s computers were an extension of their test instrument
design philosophy: rugged, reliable, reasonably priced, looking more like instruments than the creative, communications (and business)
tools that they really are.
The Kaypro II is not the first portable full-size computer, that would be the Osborne 1, with its all-plastic case.
With the entire case of the Kaypro II being metal, it is probably heavier than it has to be, and the sharp metal corners are hard on
the knees, if you actually decide to carry it anyplace.
On the plus side, the 9″ screen on the Kaypro is a distinct advantage over the Osborne’s tiny 5″ screen.
In 1983, they split-off the computer division, naming it Kaypro Computers. They were soon shipping 10,000 Kaypro II computers a month.
Over the next four years, they released the Kaypro 10, IV, 4, 2, 2X, Robie, 4X, 12X, 16,
2000, and Kaypro 1,
in pretty much that order.
Most of their computers were based on the Z-80 microprocessor and ran the CP/M operating system up until 1986 or so.
By that time, MS-DOS was taking over the world. Kaypro Computers made a few more systems, but couldn’t compete.
They filed for bankruptcy in 1990.
Soon after the Kaypro II was released, BYTE magazine published a review
of the system, on September 1983.
Arthur C. Clarke lived in
while working on the movie version of his science-fiction novel
He used his Kaypro II and a modem to keep in touch with
Peter Hyams (the director) in Los Angeles.
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