History of the Personal Computer

Computers are part of our everyday lives. It is difficult to imagine life without a computer, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone that can all but do the job of a personal computer. Yet computers have not actually being around for that long in the grand scheme of things. “PC” is an initialism for “personal computer” and in its broadest definition it means a computer that can be operated by one person. Using this term, the first persona computer arrived in 1946 and was called the ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. It was heralded as a “Great Brain” when it was unveiled to the public in 1946. The ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory, but it never made it into the mainstream because of its $487,000 cost, which is the equivalent to $6,887,000 in today’s money. The LPG-30 was another personal computer that was spoken highly off, yet it was another that saw its costs preventing it being affordable for all but major institutions. Stan Frankel’s machine cost $46,000 or $423,000 today. Another prohibitive feature of the early personal computers were their sheer size. For example, some machines in the late 1960s weighed approximately half a ton and were as large as two desks. In 1973, Hewlett Packard created a fully BASIC programmable microcomputer that fit onto...

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