More than Phones: How Nokia Launched Computers

    Perhaps this is not news for you, but Nokia has not always been engaged in the release of mobile devices. The company has a rather rich and multifaceted history . The company began with the production of paper products in 1865 at different times, for example, in electric power, rubber products, electric cables, electrical engineering, (!) Robotics, military developments, and personal computers.

    Speaking of the latter. Not long ago, a well-known columnist for Security and Mikko Hypponen specialist posted on his Twitter intra magazine cover Nokia thirty years ago (on September 4, 1984). It captures Bill Gates, whom you can remember from the many comedic commercials., at the time of visiting the headquarters of the Finnish company. He was invited to familiarize himself with the latest version of the MikroMikko personal computer, which at that time was a direct competitor to the IBM PC army. Who would have thought then ... Although let's leave such speeches to journalists and grab the baton from kerenskiy with his post about Agat 9, telling you about computers that proudly carried the Nokia banner on their plastic sides.

    The eighties of the last century were undoubtedly the best time for home PCs. It was at this time that manufacturers and consumers alike had a final picture of how a personal device for work and games should look. That is, computers are no longer perceived as highly specialized machines used in organizations and scientific laboratories, and have become something commonplace. This can be compared, for example, with how smartphones now smoothly merged into our lives.

    In 1981, IBM released its first IBM PC based on the Intel 8088 processor, and almost simultaneously with it, the Nokia computer division sought to break into the business PC market with its first-born MikroMikko 1.

    The first model in the line was presented on September 29, 1981, exactly 48 days after the IBM premiere. The date of the presentation was timed to coincide with the birthday of Mikko in the Finnish calendar. Production was set up at a factory in Espoo, where computer equipment has been manufactured since the 60s.

    Nokia MikroMikko 1 assembly

    The dark side of the moon Nokia MikroMikko 1


    MikroMikko 1 received an Intel 8085 processor with a clock frequency of 2 MHz, 64 KB of RAM, 4 KB ROM and worked on the CP / M operating system .


    The model had many modifications. So, for example, the M6 ​​modification (in the figure above) had two 5.25 "640 KB drives. However, other models could be equipped with one or two drives (360 KB or 640 KB), or even a 5 MB hard drive (M7 modification).

    It’s scary to think that the performance flagship smartphone Lumia 930 at that time could be considered a super-supercomputer, and its size and interface would probably drive engineers crazy.The

    display resolution was 800 x 327 pixels at a frequency of 50 Hz (standard resolution was 160 x 75). He did not connect to the outlet, but received power e from the main unit.

    The computer was quite heavy: the weight of the keyboard alone was approaching two kilograms! But in general, it was a fairly reliable and durable machine that could be used in rather harsh (by the standards of the time, of course) conditions, for example, in school classes.

    The Aries logo is a family feature of all MikroMikko models.

    In general, all computers in the series, starting from the very first, were distinguished by good ergonomics. In this model, for example, the keyboard boasted built-in wrist support and comfortable keys.

    MM1 had a linear power transformer. No fans were used in the system unit — cooling was carried out using a large heat sink on the rear panel.

    Heat sink panel

    Technical specifications Nokia MikroMikko 1
    Processor: Intel 8085 (2 MHz);
    RAM 64 KB, ROM 4 KB;
    Text mode: 24 lines of 80 characters, 25 lines for status information;
    Resolution: 160 x 75 and 800 x 327 pixels;
    Display: monochrome, 12 inches;
    Sound: bipper;
    Memory: 2 5.25 "drives (640 KB) (M6 modification), 5 MB hard drive (standard for M7 modification, optional for all other modifications);
    Ports: 2 RS-232 sockets, display, printer, keyboard;
    Operating system and software: Nokia CP / M 2.2, Microsoft Basic, editor, debugger, assembler;
    Dimensions and weight: 324 x 340 x 215 mm / 13.4 kg (main unit); 345 x 330 x 335 mm / 12 inches / 8, 5 kg (display), 390 x 220 x 70 mm / 2 kg (keyboard);
    Cost: approximately 30,000 Finnish marks as of 1984 (Who will find what its value can be compared with, please write in the comment).

    So that you can experience the spirit of that time even more, we will make a small remark. In the period between generations of MikroMakko, namely in 1982, the famous 64 from the American company Commodore entered the market. Due to its consumer qualities (we recall that the model was offered in the form factor of the console, which could also be connected to a TV) and the organization of sales (if other computers were sold through authorized stores, then Commodore was implemented even through toy stores), the model became the most personal computer sold: from 1982 to 1994, more than 30 million copies were sold.

    Commodore 64

    But back to our rams (a good pun, isn't it?). In 1983, the next generation came out - MikroMakko 2. And, most likely, it was then that he was shown to Bill Gates. He received a high-quality monochrome Nokia MDU15 display with a white backing (the MM1 display was distinguished by a combination of green characters and a black background, typical for that time), with a resolution of 400 × 160 pixels at a frequency of 72 Hz.

    Nokia MikroMakko 2 (aka Salora SPC 2)

    Another thing is surprising: as computer historians say, MikroMikko 2 was the only mass-produced computer running on the Intel 80186 (!) Processor with a clock frequency of 8 MHz. The computer was compatible with MS-DOS, which was gaining popularity at that time - Nokia used its version of MS-DOS 2.x.

    5 internal expansion slots (2 of which were used for the video card and drive controller, and 3 for RAM) opened up new possibilities for the configuration of the machine. And if in the first generation there were only 7 modifications, then MikroMikko 2 totaled 22 modifications. So RAM could vary from 128 to 768 KB, and the hard drive could be 5 or 15 MB. Among other things, this machine could already be connected to a local network standard NETNET.

    Technical specifications Nokia MikroMikko 2
    Processor: Intel 80186 (8 MHz);
    RAM from 128 to 768 KB;
    Text mode: 24 lines of 80 characters, 25-27 lines for status information;
    Resolution: 400 × 160 pixels;
    Display: Nokia MDU15 — monochrome, black and white;
    Sound: bipper;
    Memory: 5.25 "drives (320 or 640 KB), 5 MB or 15 MB hard drive;
    Ports: display, printer, keyboard, NETNET;
    Operating system: Nokia MS-DOS 2.xx.

    After MM2, Nokia’s personal computer model tree stretched its branches much more strongly. For example, the third generation of MikroMakko had three main branches, the first of which was MikroMikko 3, introduced in 1986. Powered by Intel 80286 clocked at 6 or 8 MHz, it was the first fully IBM PC / AT compatible computer for the company. For those who are not in the know, this means that the MM3 architecture was close to the third generation IBM PC, which allowed them to run their software directly, without using emulators. There were already 6 expansion slots in this model, and a mouse made up the keyboard company for the first time.

    MikroMikko 3 TT

    The following year, a workstation called MikroMikko 3 TT appeared. Her heart and brain was also the eight-megahertz 286th. And besides him, the model received 1 MB of RAM, as well as one or two (depending on version) 3.5 ”720 drives. An optional 20 MB hard drive was installed. The default operating system was MS-DOS version 3.2.

    This workstation has become one of the components in the systems of working groups of computers under the name "Tiimi", popular in the late eighties. It usually consisted of servers based on MikroMikko 2 and 3 generation models and, in fact, MM3TT workstations. As for the software, such complexes, at least, had SQL / DMS data management systems and NOSS document management systems.

    MikroMikko 3 TT M215

    In the same year, the most powerful machine in this generation came out - MikroMikko 3 TT M215. Running on MS-DOS 5.0, it boasted a 33 MHz Intel 80286 processor, 4 MB of RAM, a 1.4 MB 3.5 "drive and a 40 MB hard drive, which at that time was considered a pretty top-end configuration.

    In January 1988, Nokia's computer manufacturing division acquired Ericsson's computer division (Ericsson Data) and Dava, and changed its name to Nokia Data Systems. The company became the largest producer in the northern part of Europe (the seventh among all European countries). However, in 1991, in the wake of the economic crisis and in connection with an internal revaluation of the company's values ​​(Nokia decides to concentrate on telecommunication technologies), the computer unit was sold to the British company International Computers Limited. ICL itself was subsequently bought by the Japanese Fujitsu, and the MikroMikko line of computers was called ErgoPro.

    Laptop Nokia Data MikroMikko 4 m310

    However, a few years earlier before the events described above, the fourth generation of MikroMikko machines saw the light of day. Almost all of these computers were developed back in Nokia Data, but some of them already carried the ICL brand.

    Nokia Data MikroMikko 4 m348

    In order not to overwhelm you with the technical details of each of the modifications (and there were more than 9 of them), we can only say that most of them were based on 386 processors, and only models like MikroMikko 4 m436SX / m458 received an Intel processor 80486.

    Nokia Booklet 3G

    Thus ended the era of Nokia personal computers. More precisely, it was interrupted for the whole 18 years when Nokia returned to the market with its compact laptop (and in fact a netbook) Nokia Booklet 3G, based on the Intel Atom Z530 processor with a clock frequency of 1.6 GHz. But this is a completely different story ...

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