Airis Computer Corp. (Chicago, Ill.)

In 1990, a small group of industry veterans thought they could do what the Compaqs, HPs, and Zeniths could not: Find the perfect mix of weight, performance, and price for a laptop computer. The plan was to build an 80286-based laptop that weighed a little more than six pounds and sold for less than $2,000. Although faster 80386 CPUs were available at the time, the company believed it could provide more than adequate performance with the 80286, which would let them hold down the cost and extend battery life.

One interesting feature was Airis’s TeleROM technology. It allowed the laptop’s BIOS to be updated by modem.

It was a good plan, but the company struggled to get the VH-286 to market. It is unlikely that more than a few prototypes were ever built.

Airis VH-286 (June 1990, laptop PC)
Base Configuration: 12.5MHz 80286 CPU, 2MB RAM (4MB max), 20MB hard disk drive, serial and parallel ports, 11-inch monochrome LCD, 2400-bps modem, 82-key keyboard, MS-DOS 4.1
Video: 640 x 480, 16-shade gray scale
Important Options: 80287 FPU, 3.5-inch external floppy disk drive


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