Calling the Apple Macintosh PowerBook Duo a computer that came ahead of it’s time, is a real understatement. I didn’t ever own a Duo myself but a friend of mine had the full Duo System, the Desktop Dock, several Mini Docks, third party battery chargers, external drives, everything he could get his hands on.
There were the occasional problems with the big Desktop Dock, but we always figured out a way to fix it and I have to admit that I was fairly envious of how easy it was for my friend to carry his work with him wherever he went. As I recollect he kept the big Desktop Dock at his house and a smaller Mini Dock and external monitor at the office.
At the time I couldn’t really see it for myself because I was more into buying the latest SuperMac and Radius monitors, accelerators and graphics cards for my Quadra 950 and 840AV desktop machines. It would still take a few years before I realized that I could take all my work with me, and how much it would change my life.
The PowerBook Duo was a line of small subnotebooks manufactured and sold by Apple Computer from 1992 until 1997 as a more compact companion to the PowerBook line. Improving upon the PowerBook 100’s portability (its immediate predecessor and Apple’s third smallest laptop), the Duo came in seven different models. They were the Duo 210, 230, 250, 270c, 280, 280c, and 2300c, with the 210 and 230 being the earliest, and 2300c being the final incarnation before the entire line was dropped in early 1997.
Weighing in at a mere 4.1 pounds and slightly smaller at 10.9″ x 8.5″ than a sheet of paper, only 1.4″ thick, it was the lightest and smallest of all of Apple’s PowerBooks and MacBooks. Only the MacBook Air weighs less, though wider and deeper, but considerably thinner making it the second smallest subnotebook overall. In fact the Duo has the most in common with the MacBook Air which only includes one USB 2.0 port, one video port (requiring an adapter) and one speaker port, but no ability for expansion.
The PowerBook Duo line was replaced by the PowerBook 2400, which was slightly larger in size to the Duos, but still only the 5th smallest behind the 12″ PowerBook G4 which succeeded it as 4th smallest. Although both featured much more onboard functionality, they lacked docking capability. Apple presently only offers the MacBook Air in the subnotebook category.
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerBook_Duo