The Columbia VP was a Compaq Portable like IBM PC compatible. Besides, it was said that Compaq designed the electronic part of the VP.
It was the last computer made by Columbia, the company which made the MPC, first true copy of the IBM-PC.
Columbia built a very rugged but heavy case which supported a 9" monochrome monitor, larger than the Compaq. All other features were the same as the Compaq.
When the system was launched, the main argument of Columbia was the large number of software bundled with it. Among them: MS-DOS, CP/M-86, Perfect series (Writer, Filer, Speller, Calc), MS-BASIC, Macro assembler, Home accountant and Space Commander game.
It seems that several versions of the VP were built: 1600/1, 1600/4, 2110, 2220, VP-Plus, but we have no information about them.
Stephen Somerville's memories:
I was the senior operations manager at Columbia Data Products from 1982 to 1984. My production team built and shipped about 2,000 VP's a month during that time.
I still have one buried in my closet. Wish I could find the "perfect" bundled software that came with it. I'd pay big to find that software somewhere on the net.
Anyway, those days were indeed heady times. BIG BONUSES, all expense trips for the senior staff in Vegas, and bahamas, the champange flowed like water. We were making money hand over fist, then one day, all of the sudden, I was told to layoff 400 production line workers. I ONE DAY! I quit 2 weeks later and never looked back.
But I'll never forget those times. We took Kaypros apart, as well as commodores, compaqs, and anybody elses where we could see a better idea, cheaper method, any item to drive a higher margin. I remember sitting at a conference room table with the guts of all our competitors machines hanging out, and saying to the rest of the senior staff, "guys, there is no more profit in this box, we've trimmed everything we can".
I remember the press coming to the company. An expedition team was taking one of our VP's to the top of mount everest to plot wind, conditions, etc. and the entire company was wearing tee shirts that read "Columbia Data Products, computers that can climb mountains".
Geeez, those were heady times, we had the world by the balls. Steve
We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system,
please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
Hey, by browsing CDP OEM version of MS-DOS 1.25 I encountered that there are different versions of this computer (this is from DEFINE.EXE executable). * 1600-1 Dual Floppy System * 1600-2 Floppy + 5 Megabyte Hard Disk * 1600-3 Floppy + 7.5 Megabyte Hard Disk * 1600-4 Floppy + 10 Megabyte Hard Disk
Additionally by hex-viewing DEFINE.DAT there are several similar entries: 1600-1S, 1600-2S, 1600-3S, 1600-4S, 1600-1R, 1600-1SR, 1600-2R, 1600-2SR, 1600-3R, 1600-3SR, 1600-4R, 1600-4SR and S9600.
These are probably just model variations of 1600-X model, but I don''t know what S9600 is.
You can find this info also on my wiki http://beta-changes.wikia.com/wiki/MS-DOS:1.25:CDP_OEM:2.11 (pages DEFINE.DAT and DEFINE.EXE)
Monday 28th November 2016
I worked at Columbia Data Products as a production technician in the soldier shop and then briefly in the cable assy shop (after they shipped the soldiering tasks to PR). What Mr. Sommerville doesn''t tell you about Columbia Data Products is that, just before they started laying people off... They had a big (mandatory) meeting with all of the production personnel on the floor. They pushed buying the company stock with the eagerness of a street hooker and literally a week later started laying everyone off! Having their fill of champagne and knowing that there competitors would destroy them in court for literally stealing the intellectual property of another.
I never bought any of the company stock, but many did... Their way of sticking it to their production personnel just as hard as they could, after robbing other honest innovators!
I too never looked back, but I learned a valuable lesson about liars and thieves that wear suits...
This was my first home computer. A "luggable", as opposed to "portable", I think we called it then. I remember that mine had 1 MB of RAM - I used the portion that wasn't consumed by TSR programs as a virtual disk - fantastically fast access, compared to the floppy :-)
Thursday 18th August 2005
Vince Gray (Canada)
Columbia Data Products
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Standard PC 82-key with function keys and numeric keypad