The Executive is the successor of the Osborne 1, from which it keeps the good points and correct its flaws. More memory, bigger screen, more powerful software and... higher price.
When closed, the Executive looks like a sewing machine! Once opened, the detachable keyboard is connected to the main unit through a quite short coiled cord. The keyboard can be tilted for a better typing. It has a separated numeric keypad and 4 cursor keys. The layout of these keys is not very convenient. There is "left" & "up" on one row, and "down" & "right" on the other...
The front panel of the Executive is divided in four parts. In the center, one can find the built-in amber monitor (13 x 10 cm) bigger than the Osborne 1 one. On the right hand side, there is the fan grid, the Executive logo and the on/off button. The two 5.25" half-height disk drives, are mounted horizontaly just above an empty disk storage space. Different connectors are placed at the bottom of the front panel: two RS232c/serial (for printers and modem), one Centronics and the keyboard connector. Next to them are brightness and contrast control knobs, as well as a reset button.
At the back of the system is the handle to carry the system once it is closed. Under this handle is the fan trap door, which you have to open before starting to work. The Executive has of course its own power supply unit, but what is more uncommon, is that it can accept 110v or 220v, the system will convert both. This was useful for people traveling a lot.
The built-in monitor was the main flaw of the Osborne 1. This tiny screen was displaying 52 of 132 virtual columns (this was done by scrolling), resulting in 2 mm high characters! The Executive has a wider screen which can really display 80 columns, though some critics said it was still too small. The characters can be displayed in normal mode, half intensity, inverse or blink. Two character sets are available, and independant windows can be defined.
The Executive was delivered with a binder containing 14 disks! There was CP/M+, Wordstar 3.3, Mailmerge, Supercalc 1.12, Pearl (file manager), Microsoft Basic 5.22, CBasic 2 and several tools. The Executive can also read disks from many other systems: Osborne 1, IBM PC under CP/M 86, DEC VT 180, Xerox 820, Cromenco Minidisk and UCSD p. It can also emulate several terminal types: VT 100, ADM, Hazeltine, HP... and know several communication protocols: 3270, 2780, 3780 and X25.
Though most reviews said it had 128 KB, the Executive is equiped with 124 KB from which only 60 KB are left free for the user. The missing 4K was because of the bank switching it couldn't switch the whole 64K only 60K could be switched the 4K had to remain common. The memory can however be expanded to 384 KB.
Curtis A. Ingraham (former Osborne's employee) reports:
Following the introduction of the Executive, OCC was developing a PC-compatible portable (not the Encore) which looked much like the Executive. This project was near production at the time of the bankruptcy. I recall that the PC-compatible was to be called the "Osborne PC". It is quite true that the PC announcement killed the sales of the exsiting models. The company was preparing to offer an upgrade plan to convert Executives to PCs in the hopes of sustaining Executive sales, but the sales died anyway. I believe five copies of the PC were built, and at least one of them was working. It looked much like the Executive. The company was desperately trying to sell the design to other companies just before the bankruptcy.