The Adcock & Johnson Model 3000

written by Matthew Reed

Adcock & Johnson advertisement

Adcock & Johnson advertisement from the December 1982 issue of 80 Micro

Before laptop computers, there were transportable computers. Transportable computers (sometimes known as “portables” or “luggables”) were smaller than ordinary microcomputers and could be quickly moved and set up at a new location. Unlike laptop computers (which had yet to be invented) transportable computers had no batteries and needed to be set up and plugged into an outlet before they could be used.

Starting around 1981, there was a trend toward transportable computers. The Osborne 1 (introduced in 1981) and Kaypro II (introduced in 1982) were notable examples of CP/M transportables. The Compaq Portable (introduced in 1983) was probably the most famous MS-DOS transportable and the product that created the Compaq brand.

The Adcock & Johnson Model 3000, introduced in the spring of 1982, was a third-party TRS-80 entry in the transportable market. The Model 3000 consisted of an actual TRS-80 Model III converted into a transportable computer, either as a factory conversion or as a kit.

Described by InfoWorld columnist John C. Dvorak as “the hottest product around,” the Model 3000 weighed 28 pounds and was housed in a brushed aluminum case. It contained a nine-inch anti-glare green CRT and two single-sided 5¼" floppy drives. Adcock & Johnson also offered an internal modem and a 10 megabyte hard disk as options.

Adcock & Johnson sold the Model 3000 as either as a complete machine for $2,895.00 or as a conversion for an existing Model III for $795.00. Because each Model 3000 was converted from an actual Model III, it was completely compatible with all Model III software.

In mid-1983, Adcock & Johnson (by then renamed Johnson & Johnson) announced that they were phasing out the factory converted Model 3000 in favor of the conversion kit. Rod Johnson, the company president, stated in an interview with 80 Micro:

Our machine remains the most powerful, most versatile portable on the market. You can put it beside anything else and it makes it look like a used sewing machine.

In November 1984, Radio Shack released their first (and only) official transportable TRS-80 computer, the TRS-80 Model 4P. The Model 4P was a version of the Model 4 in transportable form. But the transportable market was rapidly fading, faced with competition from the new generation of battery-powered portable computers, such as the TRS-80 Model 100.

Categories: Computers