Dauphin DTR-1
Introduced:January 1993
Available:May 1993
Size:9 x 5.5 x 1.5-inches @ 2.5 lbs
CPU:Cyrix 486SLC @ 25 MHz
Memory:4MB-6MB RAM
Interface:cordless pen, external keyboard
Display:5 x 4-inch backlit grayscale LCD
 6-inch diagonal
640x480 VGA graphics
Ports:serial, parallel, video
modem, ethernet, PS/2 keyboard
Storage:internal 20MB or 40MB HD
 optional external floppy drive
OS:Microsoft DOS 6.0, Windows 3.1
Power:12vdc, 2amp, tip positive

Chinese businessman Alan Yong founded Dauphin Technlogy in 1988. For years afterward, Dauphin had been a seller of high-performance color laptops, including their $10,000 color 386SX laptop from 1990.

Things were looking-up for Dauphin, who in 1992 become the Pentagon's largest supplier of laptop computers, winning a huge $395 million contract.

At the January 1993 Pen Expo in San Fransisco, Dauphin introduced their DTR-1 (Desk Top Replacement) hand-held pen-based computer, at the time considered the world's smallest 486 computer, and one of the first palmtops to run Microsoft Windows.

In May of the same year, the DTR-1 was also displayed at the Summer COMDEX in Atlanta, and became available to the public shortly thereafter. The Dauphin DTR-1 had been called "The wave of the future - a complete, modern, conventional computer in a wholly unconventional guise." - November 1993.

The DTR-1 was actually manufactured by IBM, in part to better serve their underutilized manufacturing factories.

For $2,495, you received the DTR-1 hand-held computer, keyboard, pen-stylus, and a carrying case.
  • It came standard with 4MB of RAM, and a 20MB internal hard drive.
  • An additional 2MB of RAM, to bring the total to 6MB cost an additional $199.
  • Optional internal ethernet capability added another $299.
  • A larger 40MB hard drive was an additional $199.
  • An external 3 1/2-inch floppy drive costs $199.

  • The internal hard drive is the tiny and amazing Kittyhawk 20MB 1.3-inch micro-drive from Hewlett-Packard, at the time the smallest hard drive in the world. A built-in accelerometer parks the drive heads to protect itself from hard falls, in fact making it the most reliable hard drive available. Kittyhawk was claimed to be able to survive a 3-foot drop onto concrete while operating without loss of data - perfect for use in a handheld portable computer system. The EO-440 from 1993 also utilized the tiny Kittyhawk hard drive.

    The operating system of the DTR-1 is Microsoft Windows 3.1 (with Pen Extensions), which was released one year earlier in 1992. While Microsoft Windows had been available for a number of years, in one form or another, Windows 3.1 was the first really useful and popular version.

    As it turns out, a palmtop computer running Windows operating system wasn't convenient enough to become successful, and the too-small keyboard, and short 2-hour battery life of the DTR-1 didn't help matters either. Dauphin filed for chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection in January 1995. 18 months later, in July 1996, Dauphin was discharged from Chapter 11 reorganization, and continued operations well into 2006, when they were acquired with GeoVax of Atlanta GA.

    The 12vdc, 2Amp power supply runs very hot.
    So much so, that it may eventually melt.

    Related Links

  • Chris De Herrera's Windows CE Website
  • "The Unoffical Dauphin DTR-1 Home Page" - from 1999
  • Computerworld review - Oct 25, 1993
  • Compute Magazine review - January 1994
  • Chicago Tribune articles on Dauphin Technology - from 1993-1995
  • Chicago Sun Sentinel article - March 1995

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