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H > HEWLETT PACKARD  > INTEGRAL PC


Hewlett Packard
INTEGRAL PC

The HP Integral PC is a "portable" computer (luggable, more like it, since it weights more than 10 Kg) which works under HP-UX (Hewlett Packard UNIX variant).

It has a plasma screen and a built-in printer (the world famous HP ThinkJet, 150 cps).

The memory can be extended to 1.5 Mb with 256 Kb modules and up to 5.5 Mb with an external extension.

The ROM contains the OS (HP-UX), HP windows (the GUI) and PAM (a kind of graphic shell).

This computer had no great success since it was very expensive and only few business applications were adapted to it.

Alan Barrow reports :

Interesting comment on the expense. The IPC was priced comparable to the mac, had double the memory and a printer to boot. It wrapped a user friendly windowing system around unix in a portable fashion that did not require program recompile, etc. Faster cpu, expandable memory.... the list of advantages goes on!

The "fat mac" which matched the memory was more money.

HP simply did not market the IPC well. There was internal competition with the "bobcat" series workstations (9000/3xx).

In fact, the IPC has dual serial ports in the hardware, but the driver was rewritten for only one to work, as the IPC could not have a "mux" to avoide competition with the 9000's. Also, the IPC motherboard was only half populated with memory, as are many of the add on memory cards due to internal competition issues.

The killer IPC that was killed before final release was the mythical "Unicorn", which had a built in hard drive and more memory. It was to have sold for $4995, if I remember correctly. At one point I knew two people that had pre-production "unicorns".

Remember this was not to much after the Apple Lisa sold for $10k, the initial mac was more, and the AT was brand new and expensive as well.

The addition of the "stone tools" rom which effectively added a mainstream unix command set to the existing kernal and basic commands made the box a powerful package.

The base OS was unix kernel, basic unix commands, and a windowing system called "PAM". It had a file manager, text editor, etc, and would happily display character mode unix programs, as each window emulated a terminal. (Much like X windows developed much later)

No networking was allowed, alas. I did use this system via slip and KA9Q code however.

The IPC would work with any of the HP CS-80 drives and tapes, and the 9133H was a common accessory. The two I/O slots could be expanded to six with a chassis exxpander, which was required for the 5.5 Mb. Mice, graphics tablets, and larger keyboards could be connected via the HP-HIL port (Human Interface Link).

A full unix command set was available via floppy, and could be loaded on the hard drive in typical HP-UX locations. Fix you PATH variable, and you had a nice unix system for it's day.

Remember that the kernel was in rom, so boot was quick, and so was much of the command access. It could create ram-disk as needed as well, so you were not as dependant on the floppy.

The main intent and success of the IPC was as an instrument controller. It made a nice package, and was a good replacement for the HP-85.

Business applications were never targeted, though I believe a visicalc was available.

OK, so they did not sell that many..... I would still pick this guy over an original mac any day of the week!!!! :-)





 
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