Agilis Corp. (Mountain View, Calif.)

Agilis was founded to produce ruggedized portable computers for use on a wireless local area network (LAN). Today, it’s common for mobile workers to connect to their companies’ networks untethered–not so much in 1989 when the Agilis System was introduced. (The company was actually formed two years earlier in 1987.)

The Agilis System featured a modular design that allowed you to stack or connect components called “slices” to add power or capabilities. The company referred to it as a “handheld workstation,” but the Agilis System would require two hands when fully decked out. In a typical configuration, the system weighed 10 pounds. It was PC-compatible and sold mainly for industrial automation, defense, public safety, and service and maintenance applications.

One of the founders of Agilis was John Ellenby, who had worked at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center in its heyday and founded GRiD systems 10 years earlier.

Agilis System (June 1989, portable PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,000 to $20,000
Base Configuration: 8088 CPU, 512K RAM (8MB max), monochrome touchscreen display, Ethernet, MS-DOS 3.3
Size and Weight: 8.85 x 11 x 2 inches, 10 lbs (typical configuration)
Important Options: Console Slices (640- x 400-pixel greyscale graphics), Processor Slices (8088 or 80386 CPU), Storage Slices (hard or 3.5-inch  floppy disk drive), Communications Slices (wireless connectivity), Battery Slices, Keypad Slices

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