The world's first hand-held computer

July 1982

hand-held computer HX-20

CPU: CMOS 8-bit dual CPU
Memory: RAM 16KB; expandable up to 32KB, CMOS ROM 32 KB (standard); expandable up to 72 KB
Microprinter: Impact dot-matrix
Printing speed: 0.7 lines/sec.
Keyboard: Full-stroke 68 key
Expansion interfaces: Cartridge, audio cassette, bar code reader, RS-232C, high-speed serial, system bus
Power supply: Built-in nickel-cadmium battery and AC adaptor (100 V +/- 10 %)
Size: (W) 290 x (D) 215 x (H) 44 mm
Weight: Approx. 1.6 kg

The world's first hand-held computer, the HX-20 (called the HC-20 in Japan), was created by bringing together Epson's* core technologies. Incorporating a multitude of functions in a body with an A4 footprint, the computer weighed a mere 1.6 kg. In addition to being lightweight and compact, the HX-20 came with a nickel-cadmium battery that allowed it to be used on the go and off the grid for up to 50 hours. Easily transported anywhere, the HX-20 can rightfully be called the forerunner of the modern mobile PC.

The HX-20 drew widespread attention when it was exhibited at shows in Tokyo (the Data Show and the Microcomputer Show) and introduced outside Japan, where it was hailed as a new model for computers and was even called "the fourth revolution in personal computing." The one model of the HX-20 became an astonishing bestseller. One-quarter of a million units were sold, as the product caught on not only in the personal computer market, which was the original target, but also in factories, where it was used to control production line and other operations. The HX-20 was the first model in a series of computers that would grow progressively more powerful as the years went by.

*Then known as Shinshu Seiki Co., Ltd. (name changed to Epson Corporation in 1982).