The NEC UltraLite
was an MS-DOS
-based portable computer
in a "notebook" size.
The product was originally developed by an NEC Japan telecommunications engineering team that was trying to make an inexpensive lightweight terminal for programming PABX
systems. In 1988, as NEC
was trying to create products to update their best selling MultiSpeed, the NEC engineering team in charge of developing personal computers showed the UltraLite to a product management team from NEC Home Electronics USA.
Tom Martin, the Vice President in charge of the group asked, "Can you make this thing run MS-DOS"? When an affirmative response was received, the NEC team knew they had a hit product on their hands.
The product was launched shortly before COMDEX
in October 1988 at a gala event in New York City. It was applauded by the media, who were dying to find a small lightweight computing platform that could be used for note-taking and article writing. Unfortunately the publicity surrounding the UltraLite did not reflect itself in consumer demand. This was due to the UltraLite's two Achilles heels
... the lack of a hard drive
which prevented storage of one's work and the use of a relatively slow 8086
-compatible processor when the market was moving to the 80286
class. Actually the Ultralite WAS able to store your work (or data) three different ways. It came with a 2 megabyte flash drive in a place of a hard drive, it had an optional external floppy drive and you could use credit... Read More