Despite its name, the Kaypro II was the first Kaypro model. The name was KAYPRO II, because the Apple II was the most popular system (besides the IBM PC) around back then, and Kaypro decided to follow in the image.
It was conceived by Non Linear Systems inc., a company with over 30 years' experience of producing small portable aerospace electronic equipment, which would later become Kaypro.
The Kaypro systems were known to be square-built ! All the hardware is packed into a solid aluminum case. These computers can resist to a lot of trouble as they proved when ten of them (Kaypro IV & 10) were used by doctors for the Paris-Dakar 84's edition. Non of them failed despite extreme conditions.
One asset of the Kaypro, over the Osborne 1 which was
available at about the same time, is the 9" built-in monitor, easily twice
the size of the Osborne's. Though the Kaypro 2 has no graphic features, it can display 80 x 24 characters. There are two single-sided / double-density full-heigth 5.25'' disk-drives (190k each). One can be used to boot CP/M and the other to run the software.
The Kaypro II is a real "luggable" system. Even if it weights more than 10kg, it can be easily moved with the handle found at the back.
At the rear of the system, one can find a serial port, a parallel port, a keyboard connector, a brightness control knob and reset button.
Perfect Writer, Perfect Calc, Perfect Filer, Perfect Speller, S-Basic, CP/M and Profitplan were bundled with the system. Later WordStar was also available.
As usual with Kaypro, the model names logic is quite dramatic to resolve. Several Kaypro "2" were marketed :
- In 1984 a new Kaypro 2 (refered as Kaypro 2'84) is introduced. It has two SS/DD half-height floppy drives, a Z-80A running at 4.0 MHz, 2 serial ports and rudimentary graphics (through graphic characters).
- The same year, the Kaypro 2X is released. Very similar to a Kaypro 2'84 but with DS/DD half-height drives.
- Still in 1984, in order to be compatible with IBM software, a special version was marketed with an Intel 8088 CPU instead of the Z80A. It was called the Kaypro II Plus 88!
- In 1985 another Kaypro 2 refered as "New 2" is sold. It is basically an old 2X motherboard, with one or two DS/DD floppy drives, but no 300 baud modem previously found on the 2X. It comes with just CP/M and Wordstar for software.
- And to spice up a bit things, Kaypro decides to rename its Kaypro 4'84 as Kaypro 2X (sometimes also known as 2X MTC), thus dropping the previous 2X model!
See ! I told you...
In 1985, Arthur C. Clarke published a sequel to 2001 : 2010 Odyssey Two. He worked with Peter Hyams in the movie version of 2010. Their work was done using a Kaypro computer and a modem, for Arthur was in Sri Lanka and Peter Hyams in Los Angeles. Their communications turned into the book The Odyssey File - The Making of 2010.
Thanks to Bolo's Computer Museum for the picture.