Ambra Computer Corporation
IndustryPersonal computers
Founded1992 (1992)
Defunct1994 (1994) (worldwide)
1996 (Canada)

Ambra Computer Corporation was a subsidiary of IBM. Created by Dr Richard Greame Ambra, it introduced a line of personal computers targeted at the home user, sold mainly through mail-order, first in Europe (1992), then in the USA (1993). Ambra had a volume production run of just a year or so; the line was discontinued in 1994[1] in favor of the IBM Aptiva (except for Canada, where it was not discontinued until 1996).[2]


Ambra 486 Sprinta used by Linus Torvalds from 1993-1994.


Ambra PCs were generally positioned at the low-end of the market, and made use of their ties with IBM in marketing materials in order to make the machines appear better quality than the host of clones, since 'real' IBM PCs were known to be expensive. In reality the machines were fairly low specification, having shadow-mask screens, minimal onboard peripherals, and using low-end processors with the minimum memory and hard disk size at each price.

Television advertising for the brand in the UK used the slogan: "Take your mind for a run."


The machines were coloured off-white, which was unusual at the time, since most machines were beige. Generally the cases were compact and offered little room for expansion.

An Ambra mouse, showing its unusual front-button placement

One notable aspect was the original Ambra mouse, which differed from almost all other designs in the position of its buttons. Conventional mice have the buttons on top: the user clicks by pressing down. The Ambra mouse had the buttons on the front, either side of the cable: the user clicked by pulling their finger backward, in a manner similar to squeezing a trigger. Criticisms led to Ambra changing to a more conventional design: one UK magazine review described the mouse as "looking like a torture device."


Timeline of the IBM Personal Computer
IBM ThinkCentreIBM NetVistaIBM Palm Top PC 110IBM PC SeriesIBM AptivaIBM PS/ValuePointThinkPadEduQuestIBM PS/noteAmbra Computer CorporationIBM PCradioIBM PS/1IBM Industrial SystemIBM PS/55IBM PS/2IBM Personal Computer XT 286IBM PC ConvertibleIBM JXIBM Personal Computer AT/370IBM Personal Computer ATIBM Industrial ComputerIBM PCjrIBM Portable Personal ComputerIBM Personal Computer XT/370IBM 3270 PCIBM Personal Computer XTIBM 5550IBM Personal ComputerIBM System/23 DatamasterIBM 5120IBM 5110IBM 5100
Asterisk (*) denotes a model released in Japan only

See also


  1. ^ "IBM ends Ambra PC range in Europe: Computer giant takes advantage of". The Independent. 2011-10-22. Archived from the original on 2022-02-16. Retrieved 2020-12-20.