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"I just can't be politic. I never learned how to do that and I don't like doing that. I think it's false."
- Harlan Ellison

Briefcase Computer  
  A portable computer workstation.  

This is an early description of a computer that is small enough to carry around; it's hard to say whether or not this device used a keyboard or not (might be entirely voice-activated).

Rob Gray ... sat with an open briefcase resting on his knees. He studied the information being displayed on the screen built into its lid... Gray addressed the [microphone] grille, located next to the tiny lens just above the screen.

"Hi, Sue" ... "Could I have personal data, ... please."

Gray ... inserted [the card from his wallet] into a slot set to one side of the screen, and touched a key. ... "Thank you, goodbye."

Gray flipped a switch, unplugged the briefcase from the socket built into the armrest of his seat, and coiled the connecting cord back into the space provided in the lid. He closed the case and stowed it behind his feet.

From Inherit the Stars, by James P. Hogan.
Published by Del Rey in 1977
Additional resources -

Note that this scene describes a businessman making an in-flight, two-way video call over the global network using the computer. He then uses electronic ID cards to authenticate himself and authorize an electronic transaction.

Compare this item to the briefcase console from Niven and Pournell's 1981 novel Oath of Fealty.

Thanks to Stephen Jones for finding this item (and submitting the quote).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Inherit the Stars
  More Ideas and Technology by James P. Hogan
  Tech news articles related to Inherit the Stars
  Tech news articles related to works by James P. Hogan

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