GRiD Systems Corp. (Mountain View, Calif.)

The GRiD Compass is a milestone system, as it was probably the first true laptop sold. It featured several unusual features, including a magnesium case (lightweight and durable) and bubble memory and ROM packs in place of a floppy disk drive. All Compass models are among the more desirable laptop collectibles. In late 1983, GRiD introduced a Compass Model 1107 at more than $14,000. It was expensive because it was built to meet Department of Defense Tempest standards designed to block the emission of radio signals from the computer. GRiD billed the 1107 as an espionage proof portable. The Compass II offered several incremental improvements over the Compass, including the Model 1131 that offered a 128-column ELD.

The three GRiDCase models were defined by their video displays. The GRiDCase I had an LCD, the GRiDCase II had an enhanced LCD, and the GRiDCase II had a gas plasma display.

The GRiDCase EXP was a GRiDCase Plus with a bigger enclosure to house two PC XT-compatible expansion slots. The EXP model was aimed at the field automation market. The GRiDCase 1500 series represented several industry firsts. GRiD claimed that the GRiDCase 1500 was the first battery-powered laptop to use the low-power 80C286 and 80C386 CPUs. Several months after its introduction, the GRiDCase 1500 became the first laptop to use a high resolution 640 x 400 LCD. In early 1988, the 80C386 version became the first laptop to offer a Unix-based operating system.

The GRiDLite was the first laptop to offer EMS memory as an option–up to 1MB. This feature was extended to the existing GRiDCase Plus line introduced in late 1987. The GRiDCase Plus had a faster CPU and an optional 10MB hard drive.

In June 1988, GRiD was acquired by Tandy Corp., the parent company of Radio Shack and manufacturer of TRS-80 computer lines. Tandy maintained the GRiD laptop and desktop brands as its high-end offering. GRiD produced several interesting pen-based portables while part of Tandy.

GRiD Compass/Compass II (April 1982 [Compass]/June 1984 [Compass II], laptop  PC)
Original Retail Price: $3,450 to $6,195
Base Configuration: 8086 CPU, MS-DOS 2.0 and GRiD/OS, 256K RAM (512K max), up to 512K ROM, 384K bubble memory storage, 6-inch monochrome LCD, integral keyboard, RS-232C and IEEE-488 ports, lithium battery, AC adapter
Video: 25-line x 80-column text, 320 x 240 graphics
Size/Weight: 11 x 15 x 2 inches, 10 lbs.
Important Options: 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 10MB hard disk drive, internal modem

GRiD GRiDCase (April 1985, laptop PC)
Original Retail Price: $3,000 to $4,500
Base Configuration: 4.77MHz 80C86 CPU, MS-DOS 2.11, external expansion bus, 128K RAM (640K max), up to 512K ROM, 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 9.5-inch LCD, integral keyboard, RS-232C and parallel ports, carrying case, NiCad battery pack, AC adapter
Video: 25-line x 80-column text, 640 x 200 graphics
Size/Weight: 2.25 x 11.5 x 15 inches, 12 lbs.
Important Options: expansion chassis, external 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, gas plasma display, RGB video interface, keypad, internal modem, battery pack

GRiDCase Plus (Sept. 1986, laptop PC)
Base Configuration: 4.77 MHz 80C86 CPU, MS-DOS 2.11 and GRiD OS, external expansion bus, 128K RAM (640K max), 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 9.5-inch monochrome LCD, RGB video port, integral keyboard, RS-232C and parallel ports, AC adapter, NiCad battery pack
Video: 25-line text, 640 x 200 graphics
Size/Weight: 2.25 x 11.5 x 15 inches, 11.5 lbs.
Important Options: expansion chassis, 10- or 20MB hard disk drive, external 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, CGA card, keypad, internal modem

GRiD GRiDCase EXP (Sept. 1986, laptop PC)
Original Retail Price: $4,640
Base Configuration: 4.77MHz 80C86 CPU, MS-DOS 3.2 or 2.11, GRiD OS, two ISA slots, external expansion bus, 128K RAM (640K max), 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, RGB video port, 9.5-inch monochrome LCD, integral keyboard, RS-232C and parallel ports, NiCad battery pack, AC adapter
Video: 25-line x 80-column text, 640 x 200 graphics
Size/Weight: 3.5 x 11.5 x 15 inches, 15 lbs.
Important Options: expansion chassis, 10- or 20MB hard disk drive, external floppy disk drive, 9.5-inch monochrome gas plasma display, CGA board, internal modem

GRiD GRiDCase 1500 Series (Oct. 1987, laptop PC)
Original Retail Price: $3,495 to $4,695
Base Configuration: 10MHz 80C286 or 12.5MHz 80386 CPU, MS-DOS 3.2 Extended, external expansion bus, 1MB RAM (8MB max), two 3.5-inch floppy disk drives, RGB video port, 10-inch monochrome LCD, integral keyboard, RS-232C and parallel ports, InteGRiD Application Environment, NiCad battery pack, AC adapter
Video: 640 x 400 graphics
Size/Weight: 2.3 x 11.5 x 15 inches, 11.5 lbs.
Important Options: Xenix System V, 10- to 40MB hard disk drive, 10-inch monochrome gas plasma display, internal modem, carrying case

GRiD GRiDLite (Jan. 1987, laptop PC)
Original Retail Price: $1,750
Base Configuration: 4.77MHz 80C86 CPU, MS-DOS 3.2, 128K RAM (640K max), up to 1MB ROM, 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 10-inch monochrome LCD, RGB video port, integral keyboard, RS-232C and parallel ports, NiCad battery pack, AC adapter
Video: 25-line x 80-column text, 640 x 200 graphics
Size/Weight: 11 x 13 x 2.8 inches, 9.3 lbs.
Important Options: external floppy disk drive, keypad, internal modem

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