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What was the first personal computer?

This is a subject open to interpretation. It’s tempting to say the Apple 1 (1976) or IBM PC (1981) and leave it at that. Some folks might say the Kenbak 1 (1971). But the website Blinkenlights traces the first personal computer — defined as digital, largely automatic, programmable and affordable — back even further.

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Answer: The Simon, in 1955. It used electric rotary switches and cost all of $19.95.

Blinkenlight’s stroll down memory lane makes plenty of stops along the way to Simon, including visits with the HP 9830 (1972), the Paperclip Computer (1970) and even the Honeywell Kitchen Computer (1967).

Got a better candidate? Let us know in the comments section below.

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM


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