- The Collection
- What is an 8 bit Computer?
- Why the Excitement?
- Computer Programming
- The Computers
Others from the United States
Texas Ti99/4A - 1979
For anyone lucky enough to find one, there was a model 4 before the 4A. They must be worth a fortune! It came with a rubber keyboard and no lower case letters similar to the TRS-80. The 4A was released in 1981 with a proper keyboard and a better version of BASIC though was very expensive. It was very unusual in not adopting one of the 6502, 8080, Z80 series processors as everyone had but adopting their own Texas TMS9900 processor, technically a 16 bit processor in 8 bit days. It is certainly acknowledged as the first home 16 bit computer. It also came with a BASIC language entirely compatible with the ANSI BASIC design which meant it was totally incompatible with other BASICs of its time.
Its other claim to fame was a series of modules which looked like the computer and plugged in on the right-hand side in a daisy chain. There were 7 modules which, when all connected together, used up an awful lot of desk and if any moved then the computer crashed. This was quickly replaced by an expansion unit into which cards could be inserted similar in some ways to tower computers. This idea was nothing new with computers such as the Nascom and Microtan even having the processor board in the "expansion unit".
Over 2.5 million of these were sold though the vast majority in the US where it had something of a cult following. Sadly, its competition was the Commodore 64 which was cheaper. Texas continually cut the price of the Ti99 in an attempt to keep sales going, actually selling at a loss towards the end. It is a computer you rarely saw in the UK and yet was extremely well equipped and powerful.
©Copyright Greg Taylor 2011. Not to be copied to any other document or web page without permission.