The Smallest Windows PC in 1995 Was Also a Phone! IBM Palm Top PC110
. This is the IBM Palm Top PC110 released in 1995 exclusively in Japan through a cooperation between International Business Machines and Ricoh Company Limited., And it was more than just a tiny DOS and Windows PC. It also strove to be a personal organizer, a digital notepad, a desktop clock, a portable fax machine, a digital camera and even a straight up telephone handset, all in one little device. Serieus. And it sold for between 169000 en 289000. Depending on the memory configuration and operating system with PC, DOS 7.0 Windows, 3.1 and OS2 Warp 3 all available from the factory. And although its smaller than a VHS tape, the PC110 runs Doom natively with full color, VGA, graphics and Sound Blaster, sound admirably, well., tiny Doom Gameplay commences The miniaturized hardware inside meant it was a generation slower than the newest full sized laptops back then, but cmon just look at it. Its size made it irresistible to the right customer in the mid 90s measuring 158x113x33mm and weighing only 630 grams with the battery installed.. The body is all metal as well. None of that rubber coated plastic used on so many ThinkPads of the time., A material which helps give it a solid brick of technology, feel in the hands and a satisfying clink whenever you close the lid. clink And no surprise its become highly sought after by collectors. Vandaag, with auction prices soaring for years now., So a huge thanks to LGR viewer Kevin for loaning me this one for the video complete in box with all its lovely packaging accessories and Japanese documentation.
. This whole bundle is delightful and its something Ive wanted to cover. For years so, Im psyched., The PC110 is just so miniscule for its time that its still kind of unbelievable, truly putting the sub in the term subnotebook. And a subnotebook is really what this is. Despite IBM putting Palm Top in the name., Even though its close on form factor calling the PC110 a palmtop gives the wrong impression.. Most palmtops were underpowered PCs running older versions of DOS with wide monochrome screens and had limited graphics and little to no sound.. And those are a lotta fun in their own right, but the PC110 goes a step beyond by including a 33 Megahertz, 486 8 megs of RAM 8 bit PCM sound and 256 color VGA graphics, paired with a 4.7 inch backlit LCD., Again thoroughly impressive among its subnotebook Peers in 95. And subnotebooks were all over the place back then, with machines like the NEC Ultralite, Compaq, Contura, Aero, HP, OmniBook Gateway Handbook and the legendary Toshiba Libretto all offering something different to the tiny notebook table., But IBM Japan sliced out a niche all for themselves. With the PC110 being half the size of its competitors and a quarter of the size of your typical IBM ThinkPad, like the 380XD seen here., It was also half the size of its indirect predecessor, the IBM ThinkPad 220, another Japan exclusive and one equipped with a 386 And an LCD that was larger but monochrome., It ended up outperforming IBMs projected sales numbers, so the idea was to build a faster follow up that was even smaller, hence the 110 in the name being half of 220.
Cute.. Ook, amusing was all the promo material that featured Ultraman as the products CM charactermascot earning it. The nickname of The Ultraman PC among Japanese user groups. And in order to actually build the machine, IBM made use of their ongoing partnership with electronics, company Ricoh, who you may know for their imaging and camera products. Terug. Then they were just getting into digital cameras themselves. With the Ricoh RDC 1 launching earlier in 95, an impressive device in its own right being the first digital camera, shooting both pictures and video with sound. And its not hard to imagine that the PC110 shares a bit of that digicam DNA. Heck the PC110 even uses A 1200 milliamphour lithium ion battery with a design that wouldnt look out of place inside a camera. And thats, because thats exactly what it is. The IBM branding is simply for show and theres no issue swapping it out with standard camera. Batteries used by Sony, JVC and Panasonic., Which means getting a new battery for the 110, is far easier than it is with most old laptops, with new generic replacements still being made.. There is no camera built into the computer itself, though it was a bit too early for that, despite the Ricoh imaging collaboration and the use of camera batteries., Though it didnt take long for a camera to show up with Canon, releasing the CE300 camera for it. That plugged into the PCMCIA slots kinda like the Nikon CoolPix 100, but even smaller.
, Look at her taking mid 90s laptop selfies wild stuff advertisement plays in Japanese And since weve already begun. Pokin around them lets peruse the ports which are understandably lacking yet also surprisingly, generous.. Aan de linkerkant, side weve got the power on and off switch along with two PCMCIA Type II expansion slots, which doubles as a single Type III slot.. On the right hand, side next to the battery bay is a switch for. Turning on and off the telephone ringing, sound more on that in a sec. And below that is another card interface, sometimes called Smart, Pico Flash. Turns out. This is a CompactFlash slot. Continuing the 110’s camera like qualities and it uses any compatible CF card as a swappable IDE drive. Super useful stuff, considering how common it is to install CF to IDE adapters in old laptops anyway. And around back from right to left. Weve got a wireless infrared port and a jack for the 13.7 watt AC adapter., Which is this little thing right here by the way. No need here for a big ThinkPad power brick. And to the right of that is a headset connector, combining both microphone in and speaker output into a 4 pole, 2.5mm audio-aansluiting. And the USB looking port beside. That is another combo port meant for a PS2 keyboard or mouse. IBM included this dongle with the PC110 to make use of that which can be paired with a PS2 Y adapter to connect both a keyboard and a mouse simultaneously.
Heh. I love how a normal sized mouse looks downright huge connected to this thing.. Another thing accessed around back is the clock battery which takes care of maintaining BIOS settings, as well as the other clock around front. Yep theres, a slimline liquid crystal display on the front bezel that displays the time battery charge, status, keyboard options and so on. Theres. Ook, a third battery inside known as a bridge battery that keeps the machine running while you swap the main battery for a fresh one., A handy feature, but its been removed here since its one of the nastier Nickelmetal hydride things that have the potential to leak.. En ten slotte, theres the built in 2400 bps modem, which pops out to accept the standard, RJ 11 phone cable included in the box.. This allowed you to send and receive faxes, hop online check your email and use the PC110 as a telephone, handset., Yeah thats right flip. It on its side and the whole computer becomes a phone N, Gage Taco Phone eat, your heart out, IBM was doing awkward. Sideways phone calls all the way back in 1995., Really ergonomic.. The way this works is the phone switch on the front corner also functions as the computers speaker and, by extension, a telephone earpiece. And the microphone to the left of that functions. As the phones, mouthpiece. Heh ya, got ta wonder how many people actually used it as a phone back then.. I can only assume users were more inclined to use the second headset port on the front instead, which only works with the phone and doesnt output, the computers sound.
. I also wonder how many folks actually used its 90 key keyboard for very long before going external, because man, this is rough., Unlike IBMs other innovative mini laptop in 95, the ThinkPad 701C theres, no clever, Butterfly mechanism that allows the use of full sized keys. In plaats daarvan, like The rest of the machine, its a compromise designed by the itty bitty PC committee, with keys measuring only nine millimeters across. And theres, hardly any vertical travel with each keycap squishing down onto rubber domes., pressing keys, squishily soft beeping, Though it admittedly does work better used handheld. Instead of on a desk or a lap like some kind of double sized Blackberry., The mouse section is designed to be used handheld as well, with buttons on both the left and right hand. Corners above the keyboard. Blue left, clicks, green right clicks and the red thing over here is the pointing head., Its similar to IBMs Trackpoint nub, but a bit larger and it works about as well as that does. Now you might be wondering about that thing. In the middle and nope its not a trackpad., This is the Memopad a pressure, sensitive digitizer thats, largely used for things like writing signatures and taking short notes., And even though it looks like one, it is not a mouse. Goed, not without custom drivers, at least apparently Theres a set of those for Windows 95., Which its fully capable of running by the way. I havent done that here since its not my computer and Im not about to change any configuration stuff but yeah.
Met een 33 megahertz 486SX processor and eight megs of RAM on board its crankin out just enough speed to run a good chunk of Windows. Toepassingen. And itll do so at 640×480, bij 256 colors all day, thanks to the Chips, amp Technologies, 65535 chipset with 512K of video RAM., The display itself doesnt. Do it any favors, Natuurlijk, being a 4.7 inch passive, matrix STN.? So you get plenty of the usual smearing and ghosting for these displays, plus a regrettably common issue where its slowly starting to deteriorate and lose contrast in the middle. Het is.. A problem with the PC110 that’s, seemingly inevitable, from what I can tell from photos online.. But considering its age, its surprisingly vibrant and legible, with sharp crispy text, thats easy to read and a backlight that makes it usable in dim environments.. One thing you might’ve noticed by now is that there’s, no floppy disk drive, which was still an absolute, must have back then.. Eigenlijk, there’s not even a place to plug one in externally, despite one being included by IBM in this bundle. And welp that’s, where the docking station port replicator comes in., Thankfully it’s not much bigger than the 110 itself, mostly just making it a little taller.. With that snapped into the expansion interface underneath youre, provided with the much desired 3.5 inch disk connection, as well as serial and parallel ports, 15 pin VGA out another power connection and dedicated PS2 ports. So you can stop living that dongle life.
. It certainly cuts down on the whole handheld design idea, but at least it doesnt take up much more space on a desk. And finally there’s the RAM situation with 4 megabytes on board and 8 meg SKUs of the 110 sold by IBM. And a maximum of 20 Megs available by installing 16 megabyte upgrade kits from retailers like T Zone costing roughly 300 US dollars in 1996. Right And with that lets power it on and see what the Palm Top PC110 can do. computer quietly starts. Beeps Little surprise. This little thing makes little noise with no floppy drive or cooling fans inside. And the hard drive. Goed. There actually is no hard drive Yet its booted into DOSV and weve got a Cgt prompt. So clearly, its loaded from something right Turns out. The PC110 uses internal flash memory as a solid state drive with a whopping four megabytes of storage.. Barely a few floppy disks worth of space, but still ten times more than it needs to load a minimal DOS setup with a handful of megs, Resterende. And hey. If you opted for the 2431 YDW bundle, then a removable, hard drive came with it, packed inside this classy IBM pouch.. This is the Intgral Viper, een 260 megabyte PCMCIA hard disk. Being a Type III device. It fills up both expansion slots, but it was a necessary tradeoff back. Dan, if you planned to run Windows, OS2 or really much of anything beyond DOS.
, There was also the CompactFlash option, but in 1995 that format was still brand new, so the cards were expensive and maxed out at 15. Megabytes. Not an issue today, though so Ill be using both the Viper drive and a CF card with the Viper containing the original Windows, 3.1J install and the card holding all my games and software. And for the most part, this functions the same as any other mid 90S, PC with multiple hard disks with the Japanese keyboard and PC DOSV, commands being the main difference compared to western systems.. Most of the symbol and punctuation keys have moved around and the frequently used backslash is now a yen sign in DOSV, Hoewel, once you learn where things are its business as usual.. A bigger change is the software that loads on startup Personaware.. I bet you never saw it. Coming. IBM Personaware is a tidy graphical frontend for DOS that provides a bunch of personal organizer type applets.. Dus, in addition to the previously mentioned, Notepad used for jotting down, notes by hand theres also a schedulingcalendar app, a todo list for organizing daily tasks, a notebook for typing text. Instead of writing, it by hand an address book already populated with IBM stuff, a basic email, client, a virtual fax machine program. The telephone app for taking and receiving phone calls an infrared connection helper for wireless data transfers, a world map and clock for referencing different time zones, a feature: rich scientific calculator, a text editor for manipulating common text file formats and menus for personalizing.
The applications with your information, as well as managing BIOS options and power settings for the PC110 itself. Theres, even a game, titled Game that lets you play a game in a rather game like fashion., Its one of those tile matching ‘SameGames’, where you try to eliminate all The tiles by clicking two or more matching objects., All good stuff and a pretty standard selection of software that you’d find on most palmtops and personal organizers in 95. Just with the higher resolution color graphics of the PC110., Then theres Windows 3.1J an optional option that optionally came with the hard drive, Optie. Windows, startup chime Nothings, stopping you from installing other operating systems in other languages. But this is what it came with so thats. What Im using. And I cant say there – are many differences here other than the text all being in Japanese of course. With that comes a few visual tweaks to make things more readable, along with some software for adjusting character, settings and shortcuts to the included DOSV utilities. Verder dan dat, its simply Windows, 3 running on a miniature mid, 90s machine. And thats awesome enough in my book. Chip’s Challenge. Midi plays By the way yknow I mentioned. This has an 8 bit sound chip. It uses an ESS AudioDrive 488 for compatibility with the original Sound Blaster in mono, which is great for the 110, with its single right hand, corner speaker. In addition to that theres also, a dedicated Yamaha FM synth chip on board the YM3812 F.
Yeah an OPL2, not The OPL3 so often used in 1995 and no emulation either. Just an AdLib on port 388h.. I dont have the right audio cable to do a direct recording but lets take a listen. Hoe dan ook. music from Tyrian plays Ah. Fantastic stuff, especially in such a small laptop. And thats. Really the overall takeaway here.. The IBM PC110 is way better than I thought it would be, considering its diminutive form factor and Palm Top branding and its a shame that it was only sold in Japan for a little over a year or so and never saw any upgraded, follow. Ups or anything., Hoewel, that didnt stop folks from importing them almost immediately with plenty of PC110 fansites and English user guides popping up before long and an enthusiast scene that continues to this day., And I get it. The fact that I can play SimCity 2000 Jazz, Jackrabbit and Descent on a device from 1995 that truly fits in the palm of my hand. That alone is special., But then its also got Sound. Blaster sound color, VGA, graphics, a CompactFlash slot and uses lithium ion camera batteries. Well that puts in legendary status. I mean cmon. The thing is actually smaller than the mini ThinkPad 701C model. I put together a while back. And its a fully functional PC from 1995. Not just a kit ugh, I cant help having my mind blown a little whenever I stop to think about it. Granted having a 33MHz 486SX limits.
What you can do, especially in Windows 95 and the passive matrix display that slowly goes bad, is a real downer., But Ive heard rumblings of a TFT replacement being worked on and 40 megahertz CPU overclocks are well documented, so thats something. Youre still left with that petite Keyboard and no FPU, though so if those are deal breakers, then hey Toshiba Librettos are a thing and they cost less than a PC110. Theyre, just not quite this small or collectible. So if youre like me and enjoy tracking down PCs that pushed the boundaries for when it was made, then the IBM Palm Top PC110 is a good call. Inderdaad. Hehe quotgood, call.quot piano laden, outro jazz, plays, And if you liked this video then do check out my other episodes about shrunken old computers, IBM and otherwise., Or subscribe for a new LGR episode, each week.