Creator of First Laptop Honoured

The designer of the world’s first laptop, Bill Moggridge, interaction designer, has been given a lifetime achievement award by the Duke of Edinburgh.  The winner of this year’s Prince Philip Designers Price was chosen from a list which included famous nominees such as Adrian Newey, automative designer, John Makepeace, furniture designer, Dame Viviene Westwood, fashion designer and Zaha Hadid, architect. Since he couldn’t be in London on 9 November 2010 to accept the award in person, Bill recorded a short message where he congratulated the other nominees and spoke about his current work at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.

The GRID Compass computer, which is widely known as the first laptop computer was created by Mr Moggridge in 1979. It went on sale with its own operating system, Grid OS, three years later, in 1982 and sold for over $8,000. The U.S. government was the main buyer of the computer which was used by NASA on the space shuttle during the 1980s.

In its half-century, the Prince Philip Designers Prize, which was set up in 1959, has rewarded the best in design from products and graphics to buildings and feats of engineering, and put the spotlight on designers for influencing and shaping daily life. The first winner was Charles Longman, for the ingeniously minimalist Prestcold Packaway refrigerator, designed to fit into cramped kitchens. Other early winners included Neal French and David White (1960) for the graceful Spode Apollo tableware and Kenneth Grange (1963) for the sleek Milward Courier cordless shaver. Later winners ranged from Raymond Bates, Mark Snowdon and David Bache (1981) for the Austin Metro  to Patricia Roberts for the ‘85-86’ Patchwork Sampler Collection (1986).

Talking Point

Can you remember what your first laptop looked like?

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  1. It’s amazing to look back on what was considered new technology and see how far we’ve come since then. Bill Moggridge’s first laptop was the start of a revolution in technology.

  2. God bless Bill Moggridge. I had never even heard of him. I will try to remember his name in the future out of respect. My life is different because of him.


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