Posted on July 19, 2021
The Toshiba Corporation of Japan has a long-standing tradition in technology leadership in many areas such as power, electronic components, consumer electronics, batteries, and many more.
It was only natural such a huge enterprise would not skip the computer evolution and leave their imprint.
In the mid 80s, Toshiba offered the T1100, which is believed to be one of the first true laptop computers, even before IBM brought up the IBM PC Convertible and still while competitors like Compaq did the bulky Portable / Portable II / Portable III luggable systems.
Eventually, the T-Series saw many successors, of which the T3100 appeared in around 1986.
The T3100 sported an 8 MHz 286 CPU (later, up to 386SX/16, one MiB of RAM (upgradable to 5 MiB), a 10 MiB HDD (later, up to 80 MiB) and the brand-new 720 KiB 3.5″ floppy drive.
While still not running from batteries, this device brought desktop-power into a truely compact and portable format, and continued a trend that eventually culminated into our present-day laptop/notebook format.
Besides the typical text-mode 80×25 lines, the 9.7″ orange-on-black gas plasma display was capable of displaying high-resolution graphics at CGA-compatible resolutions, and also brough a high-res resolution of 640×400 pixels. Later models added true VGA 640×480 resolution.
Another interesting observation about this devices is the similarity to the Halikan 5040 portable. While there are obviously some two years apart from a technological development perspective, the cases are very close to each other. At first glance, they – aside from different coloring – look almost the same, with only subtle differences, say the lid’s closing mechanism, a variance in the keyboard and the outer dimensions. Still, the general look and feels is almost identical, like the backside carrying handle / stand, and even the placement position of the left-hand and right-hand drive bays is almost idential.
While the Halikan 5040 was produced in Taiwan by Chaplet Systems, and Toshiba is a japanese company, one would asume the T3100 was produced in Japan. As my unit has no sticker on the underside, I can’t tell the T3100’s country origin without tearing it apart.
However, the overall similarity and the fact, that Chaplet Systems was eventually bought be the Toshiba Corporation in later years, leave some room for interpretation, that the T3100 and maybe other T-series models with similar enclouse were produced by Chaplet Systems under an ODM agreement.
Until I take some more time for a drill-down, this statement has to remain purely speculative though and is driven by my own observations and interpretation.
This device runs the Toshiba OEM version of MS-DOS 3.30. From a historically correct point of view, this machine most likely came with MS-DOS 3.1 or 3.2, both released the same year as the T3100, whereas MS-DOS 3.30 was released one year later.
While I do have said DOS releases, the only Toshiba OEM release of MS-DOS I have is the 3.30 and thus the closest match possible for a time-accurate depiction.
The PHINTAGE Collection currently holds a Toshiba T3100.
|T3100 (base model)
|31 x 36.1 x 7.9 cm
|Yes, 9.6″ black/orange Gas-Plasma Display, 640×400 px
|Intel 80286 @8 MHz
|– built-in 1200 baud modem
– optional ethernet (via ISA bus adapters in external enclosure)
|1 CGA / RGB
|1 RS232, 1 Parallel Port, 1 PS/2
|MS-DOS 3.30 (Toshiba OEM)
|– some scuffs and marks
– backside handle / stand missing
– fully working condition
|Restoration Parts needed
|– backside handle / stand