Many of the inhabitants of the “dark side,” as in the Mac's press of the late 90's called Windows users, were genuinely puzzled: why do we need these hybrids laptop and desktop computer, and even for that kind of money? But they were very well bought …
However, in the position in which Apple found itself, the direction had to be closed, and the computer I am going to talk about suddenly turned out to be the last representative of this type for everyone. I can be wrong, but no one else, it seems, has ever produced such hybrids.
There are no official explanations for the reasons for closing this direction, but there are plausible assumptions. The crisis situation, attempts to simplify the model range, the desire to reduce costs …
One more reason you will find yourself if you read this text to the end.
Gil Amelio, and the “rescuers” team that came with him, were more likely from the “dark side” “And did not fully understand the specifics of the company and its main platform. And Duo did not convince them. However, I'm not sure that he could convince me, for example.
But the main character of our narrative was born in the last year of the “former regime”, when the company was reigned, but not ruled, by the benign and harmless Michael Spindler, and the deadly disease, ready to show its symptoms, remained almost imperceptible.
In one of the articles about the PowerBook, the story about the beginning of the history of these hybrids of a laptop with a desktop computer, and now – it's time to talk about how it ended.
PowerBook Duo 2300c / 100
The new Duo was introduced on August 28, 1995, and became the very first hybrid PC on PowerPC. Before him, for an additional 700-1000 dollars, the usual Duo on the 68LC040 could be upgraded to the long-awaited PowerPC, and, in most cases, make sure that it does not bring much difference in performance.
In upgrades, we saved on the second level cache, in the Mac's system, most of the software was in the 68k codes, and it was used to translate these codes into PowerPC codes. And most of the vital programs also worked through the emulator.
The changes were expected for the better from the novelty, but … at 2100c / 100 the processor clock speed was less than in the upgrades from Newer Technology, only 100 MHz, and there was also no second level cache And the instructions for 680×0 also have not gone away.
True, some changes for the better were still waiting for new buyers.
Let's start with prose: the screen with an active matrix, 9.5 inches diagonally (24.3 cm), 16-bit color, LCD, with a resolution of 640×400, not bad – but has long been unique.
8 megabytes of RAM were soldered to the motherboard, another 48 megabytes could be added by the user, bringing the size of the RAM to 56 megabytes. For 1995, this is very, very … cool and expensive. But also not a wow factor.
The PowerBook Duo 2100c / 100 was offered in two “factory” configurations, with 8 and 20 MB of RAM. The first one installed an IDE-disk with a capacity of 750 megabytes, the second – an IDE-disk of 1.1 gigabytes.
The battery was a “safe” Duo NiMH Type III, about which Apple promised 2-4 hours of battery life. True, judging by the experience of users that I knew personally, the PowerBook Duo 2100c / 100 just kept for two hours. And to get somewhere far from civilization these same elements of the Duo NiMH Type III were unrealistic, but they could be stocked for future use by the dealer, and work in nature for your own pleasure even for whole days.
The modifications were 3500 and 4500 dollars. 1995.
The PowerBook 2100c / 100 by weight (2.2 kg) was noticeably heavier than modern lightweight laptops, which is understandable: the electronics at that time was larger and heavier.
Light, powerful enough to perform a majority tasks, with a tolerable margin of autonomy, it was a good subnotebook (or a “light notebook”, more like a MacBook Air than on an Asus Eve PC), but without great surprises.
In desktop mode
PowerBook Duo The 2100c / 100 was compatible with the original Duo Dock and the 1992 Duo MiniDock. But with the first of them, which, without modernization, did not support chromaticity, only after “replacing the cover”. It could be replaced at the nearest dealer, or independently, by purchasing the necessary spare part and carefully reading the instructions. As a rule, the second option was cheaper.
But the very first Duo Dock didn’t help the hybrid desktop on an equal footing to compete with the ordinary ones.
It was compatible with Duo Dock II, released a year before his birth, which had a second level cache (32 kilobytes!), Support for color, decent Ethernet and, among other things, a coprocessor for working with numbers with a floating point in which the 2100c / 100 was not necessary. Cost Dock II 530 dollars. It was already more serious, in the desktop mode the laptop got playful, though moderate.
Shortly before the release of the latest in the history of PowerBook Duo, on May 15, 1995, Apple announced Duo Dock Plus, which necessarily included a SCSI disk with a capacity of 230 Megabyte, offered as an option in previous Duo Dock models, there was no unnecessary coprocessor for a floating point, and it cost $ 900.
For the rest, Duo Dock Plus repeated Duo Dock II, one to one.
Such a desktop computer was more or less suitable for office work, for working with texts, for external programming, for traveling on the global web, for reading books and much more for what, but did not shine. For the same money, one could find a much more powerful Mac …