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Compact workstation Compact workstation


Aware of the importance of future mobile systems, Tokyo Research Laboratory in February 1987 began to investigate the desirable architecture and functions of such systems. At the beginning of 1989, we completed an actual working model, compact workstation. The demonstration of the working model attracted great attention in IBM and won corporate recognition of IBM Japan's capability for designing portable PCs. Finally, it resulted in IBM Japan's being given the worldwide responsibility for notebook PC development.

TRL's compact workstation was a real operational PC with a battery, and had many exploratory features as well as a sophisticated shape designed by Richard Sapper, a famous industrial designer.
For example, it was equipped with the fastest i386 CPU at that time, and also had a cache, a pen-and-tablet-based function for handwritten input, a form that could be used as a transparency on an OHP by removing the backlight of its LCD, an optical link to an ordinary desktop PC converted into a docking station, and various other innovative features.

Folded Compact workstation Form of desktop usage
(Left) TRL's compact workstation folded for transportation. Note the slightly slanted shape.
(Right) TRL's compact workstation open like a desktop PC for normal usage.

Flatly opened form for handwriting input Folded form for handwriting input
TRL's compact workstation configurations for handwriting input (tablet):
fully open flat configuration on a desk (left) and folded configuration (right).

Usage for electronic transparency
TRL's compact workstation used as an electronic transparency
on the top of an OHP, with the LCD backlight removed.

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