An odd machine all round - battery backed RAM, but only 64k in the base model expandable to 512k.
Its case was designed by Kumeo Tamura, who also designed the Datsun 280Z sportscar. The 68000 CPU and VMEbus were unusual for a laptop at the time, and the WS-1 featured an obscure multitasking operating system called BIG.DOS. Instead of bundling BASIC as the standard programming language, the WS-1 has APL.68000, a variant of APL. The machine was called the BIG.APL in early references.
The machine features about 13 mins into a 1985 Computer Chronicles episode which focuses on Japan.
At old-computers we learn that it failed FCC compliance in the US so was restricted to Japan.
Another page on the machine tells us it weighs 9 pounds and has a 300bps modem.
I’m not entirely sure whether the machine isn’t running a Forth underneath the APL. Probably not, but it was suggested.
I then fell down an APL rabbit hole…
Perhaps one of the most irritating things about timesharing on mainframes are the two messages “APL WILL COME DOWN IN TEN MINUTES AND WILL BE BACK UP IN AN HOUR” or “APL WILL COME DOWN FOR THE NIGHT IN FIFTEEN (15) MINUTES.”
From THE IMPACT OF MICROCOMPUTERS ON APL by Philip A. Van Cleave who might well be responsible for APL on the WS-1 as well as on Amiga Atari and Mac. (I say that because I saw this “APL.68000 for Amiga, Atari ST, Mac, original version by Phil Van Cleave”)
And for completeness, I found this video on (simple, exhaustive) solvers for Sudoku using APL and Forth, two great tastes that taste great together: