Say hello to the RISC ThinkPad that’s not a ThinkPad, the IBM WorkPad z50.[…]
Let’s say you went to CompUSA, or, I dunno, Fry’s, or Circuit City, in mid-1999. Why, you might pick up an Ethernet hub and a BeOS advanced topics book, and marvel at this lithe little laptop IBM was selling for US$999 ($1780 in today’s dollars) MSRP. It had all the ThinkPad design cues and a surprisingly luxurious 95% keyboard, plus that frisson-inducing bright red mouse stick. And you might say, I want this, and I’m going to take it home.
I want one of these so very bad – but like so many things classic computing, eBay prices have gone batshit insane, making it very, very hard to justify.
I remember being at CompUSA in Chicago about this time, seeing these and staring at them in pure lust. I remember going home with a box of SuSE Linux of some version with seven or nine cdroms and a large paperback manual for $29.99 instead. I’ve always lusted after some smaller version of a laptop like these and have never quite had enough to afford one and be able to justify it until I got my eeepc 901 with Xandros Linux. (Promptly replaced with an install of Ubuntu Linux which was much more useful, more more up to date and IMHO much much faster.)
I wonder if these or others were the blueprint for the cheap nearly disposable mips based windows laptops I used to see at Menards around the hollidays. They were a measly $50 US, but had almost no on board storage, I’m not sure if they even had USB. I was tempted to buy it as a novelty but figured it was likely a dead end that would never get security updates or even web browsers. Those have to be cheaper on ebay.
Looks like they are. This is what I think they looked like, this one doesn’t specify what cpu it has, But I think its one of them.