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HP 9830A: The Dawn of the Desktop
The 9830A programmable calculator was arguably Hewlett-Packard’s first desktop PC, which would also make it one of the earliest devices in the history of desktop computing. At the top of Hewlett-Packard’s new 9800 line, the 9830A carried a BASIC programming language interpreter, a processor adapted from Hewlett-Packard’s microcomputers, a QWERTY keyboard and the supporting components to satisfy most modern definitions of a desktop PC years before even kit computers had caught on among hobbyists. As the Hewlett-Packard Journal noted at the time, “Its keyboard design, programming language, memory size, I/O capability, and flexibility make the 9830A more like a desktop computer than a calculator.” At a base price of nearly $6,000 (more than $35,000 when adjusted for inflation), the 9830A was mainly confined to the commercial market.