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What was the first computer with a basic language?


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#51 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:49 AM

Understood about the AIM and computers like it, but you'd still have to consider the display extremely limited.

Yes but it still meets the original criteria (quoted below). Besides, the first laptops also had very limited displays... would you exclude them as well just on that basis?

I was wondering what the first computer with a basic programming language was. When I say "computer," I mean a home computer that you could buy completely assembled, bring it home, plug it in, and start programming in a basic language. Basic would not necessarily have to be built into the machine, but it would have to be available for purchase. I searched the internet and came up with the TRS-80 in 1977. Since my internet search skills are somewhat suspect though, I thought I would ask the question here since I bet a lot of people here would know.



#52 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:54 AM

Understood about the AIM and computers like it, but you'd still have to consider the display extremely limited.

Yes but it still meets the original criteria (quoted below). Besides, the first laptops also had very limited displays... would you exclude them as well just on that basis?


There's a marked difference between the displays on say the Epson HX-20 and TRS-80 Model 100 versus what's on the AIM or systems with similar displays like the Heathkit H-8. Again, you've got to draw the line at certain feature-sets and even target markets (which includes what things cost, which is why the relatively feature-deficient Altair 8800 made such a big impact), because again, if you really want to split hairs, systems like the IBM 5100 and Wang 2200 preceded everything. You really want a cased general purpose machine with reasonable user friendliness targeted to consumers that ran BASIC. Nothing seems to beat the SOL-20 to the punch in that regard. Even presuming the AIM came out before the SOL-20, it wasn't cased, it doesn't have a particularly usable display, and it wasn't meant as a general purpose computer.

Edited by Bill_Loguidice, Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:56 AM.


#53 desiv OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:33 PM

I agree with Bill on this after looking at the AIM-65 information on that site you posted..

Also, there is this from that page:
Released: 1977

desiv

#54 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:41 PM

Other pages say the AIM was released in 1976 and it was clearly available with a case just as the SOL was available as a kit or assembled.
The only AIM I've used had a hex keypad and was used to train assembly in college similar to the 6800 trainers made by Heathkit.
It's clear the AIM wasn't marketed as a personal computer but it was available for $375 (in what form is another matter). The SOL appears to have cost over $1600 in kit form and over $2200 assembled, so I'm not sure just how many would have been sold fully assembled.
FWIW, the AIM sold over 50,000 units and the SOL sold about 10,000 units.
http://www.old-compu...r.asp?st=1&c=58
http://www.old-compu....asp?c=344&st=1


BTW, if you look at the Copyright on the SOL BASIC manual it's 1977. Even if the machine was available in '75, you couldn't take it home and program in BASIC until it's BASIC was released. You can find the manual here:
http://www.sol20.org/

#55 desiv OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:16 PM

BTW, if you look at the Copyright on the SOL BASIC manual it's 1977. Even if the machine was available in '75, you couldn't take it home and program in BASIC until it's BASIC was released.

A copyright date on a manual doesn't mean that's the soonest BASIC shipped with the computer.

desiv

#56 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:28 PM

BTW, if you look at the Copyright on the SOL BASIC manual it's 1977. Even if the machine was available in '75, you couldn't take it home and program in BASIC until it's BASIC was released.

A copyright date on a manual doesn't mean that's the soonest BASIC shipped with the computer.

desiv

And you haven't proved otherwise now have you?

#57 Cliff Friedel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:52 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2YWr0Klme8

That is impressive. I realize the computers of that day are simple by today's standard, but you also have to consider that a lot of the components that were in large supply back then are hard to find now (or are in different packaging, etc.) Very nice.

#58 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:46 AM

That is impressive. I realize the computers of that day are simple by today's standard, but you also have to consider that a lot of the components that were in large supply back then are hard to find now (or are in different packaging, etc.) Very nice.

I think all these old machines were impressive.
Most of the board layouts were by hand, there are no programmable devices on most machines for several years, slow parts make timing even more critical, parts were expensive so you tried to maximize the use of the gates on your chips which makes board layout even more difficult, and most of the software/firmware was developed with limited development tools.


Now you draw the board layout on screen, the software can auto-route a board in a couple minutes (though it usually needs tweaking), you can program large portions of a circuit into programmable devices, parts are cheap, and you have cross development tools capable of building and programming a ROM with little effort. You can literally do in hours what used to take days or weeks.

#59 Osbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:26 AM

That is impressive. I realize the computers of that day are simple by today's standard, but you also have to consider that a lot of the components that were in large supply back then are hard to find now (or are in different packaging, etc.) Very nice.

I think all these old machines were impressive.
Most of the board layouts were by hand, there are no programmable devices on most machines for several years, slow parts make timing even more critical, parts were expensive so you tried to maximize the use of the gates on your chips which makes board layout even more difficult, and most of the software/firmware was developed with limited development tools.


Now you draw the board layout on screen, the software can auto-route a board in a couple minutes (though it usually needs tweaking), you can program large portions of a circuit into programmable devices, parts are cheap, and you have cross development tools capable of building and programming a ROM with little effort. You can literally do in hours what used to take days or weeks.


I totally agree! I am amazed of the things they did back in the 60's and 70's with the early computers.

#60 desiv OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:49 AM

BTW, if you look at the Copyright on the SOL BASIC manual it's 1977. Even if the machine was available in '75, you couldn't take it home and program in BASIC until it's BASIC was released.

A copyright date on a manual doesn't mean that's the soonest BASIC shipped with the computer.

desiv

And you haven't proved otherwise now have you?


I didn't claim I proved anything anywhere??
Just pointing out that a Copyright doesn't guarantee a ship date..

Relax.. It's a discussion, not an argument..
Breathe.. ;-) ;-) ;-)

desiv

#61 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:52 AM

Right, it appears that the manuals were of different printings too. Based on the ad from January 1977, I'd say it's a safe bet that at least one version of BASIC - either the paper tape or cassette versions - were available in 1976 along with the system.

#62 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:59 PM

I didn't claim I proved anything anywhere??
Just pointing out that a Copyright doesn't guarantee a ship date..

Relax.. It's a discussion, not an argument..
Breathe.. ;-) ;-) ;-)

desiv

If the manual shipped before that date it should have multiple copyright years in the copyright. i.e. © 1996, 1997
That is standard copyright procedure.

BTW, the SOL archive site states the following:

The Sol-20 was produced by the Processor Technology Corporation back in 1977-1979. About 10,000 of them were produced, some as kits, some as pre-built.

The site dedicated to the machine also says 1977.

After some reading, the SOL appears to just be an S100 system, and you'll find S100 dates to 1975. I think it's safe to ignore the site that says 1974 since the S100 design was published in Popular Electronics in 1975. S100 systems were pretty popular for the time so that probably means most of the programs (BASIC for example) were already written. Processor Technology Corporation just needed to provide it in a format the SOL could read along with minor changes for a SOL specific version. According to the advertisement on the SOL site, software was provided on cassette.

The SOL monitor source code on the site shows copyright 1977. The monitor (aka firmware) should be THE first app for the SOL as it has the tape interface code required to load other software. The tape standard used in that monitor code (CUTS) wasn't even published until an article in Popular Electronics in 1976... an article which is hosted on the SOL site. There is also a software/hardware catalog with a date of 1977 that lists the SOL with the comment "The new Sol-20 is unique. It's the first small computer designed as a complete system."

ALL the info backs up 1977 as the year of the SOL's release. The SOL was based on the S100 design (1975) but the actual SOL wasn't a commercial product until 1977. Which means you shouldn't believe everything these websites post since the people that run them clearly didn't spend much time researching the info. One looked up S100 and put it down for the date of the SOL and everyone has copied off of each other since then.

Did the SOL beat the Apple II, TRS-80, and PET? The catalog says "WINTER 1977" so it's hard to say. It was clearly in the running for the first all in one machine, at last if you don't require BASIC in ROM.

<edit>
I did eventually find a "Personality Module" (monitor ROM) that says Copyright 1976, but that does not mean the machine was released then. The CUTS tape format is not mentioned in the code so tape formats *might* have changed after it's release or during further development. The date in the code is "10.11.76", pretty late in '76 for a release if the code was scanned from a manual since the manual would have had an even later release date. However, one manual preface says "Copyright 1976, 1977" so some sort of manual did exist in '76. The manual on the site was the third printing in June of '77. The machine *might* have been able to ship in '76 or the first run of manuals were printed then and it was released in early '77. I think the SOL definitely shipped before the Apple II, TRS-80, and PET. The first SOLs were probably kits. BASIC was clearly available for the SOL before June of '77.

Edited by JamesD, Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:52 PM.


#63 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:08 PM

It's interesting that it's claimed that only 10,000 were produced, when another contemporary source claims that at their peak they sold 20,000 in a single year: http://books.google....ic 8800&f=false

We have the Apple II, Commodore PET, VideoBrain, and TRS-80, in that order of release so far (though the VideoBrain did not have BASIC in ROM and never had BASIC available in any form, only APL like the IBM 5100). If the SOL-20 was not released until early 1977 in quantity, it still would have beat out the Apple II, though again, the Apple II had its BASIC in ROM. The "SOL Price List" appeared in a January 1977 advertisement, so I think it's safe to assume that it had availability before that time given lead times: http://www.old-compu...?t=2&c=344&st=1

#64 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:01 PM

To load BASIC on the SOL you had to type:
XEQ BASIC

If the tape has loaded successfully, in approximately two
minutes BASIC/5 will display five lines of text ending with:
SOL BASIC 5
READY

Two minutes! I hope that's not *after* loading finishes! :-o

#65 desiv OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:01 PM

If the manual shipped before that date it should have multiple copyright years in the copyright. i.e. © 1996, 1997
That is standard copyright procedure.


Yes, "should" and "standard"...

But I work in IT, and my experience tells me that it doesn't mean that's always the case. :-)
I'm not saying it's not. I'm just saying that the "Copyright" doesn't mean that it wasn't released earlier.

desiv

#66 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:07 PM

It's interesting that it's claimed that only 10,000 were produced, when another contemporary source claims that at their peak they sold 20,000 in a single year: http://books.google....ic 8800&f=false

We have the Apple II, Commodore PET, VideoBrain, and TRS-80, in that order of release so far (though the VideoBrain did not have BASIC in ROM and never had BASIC available in any form, only APL like the IBM 5100). If the SOL-20 was not released until early 1977 in quantity, it still would have beat out the Apple II, though again, the Apple II had its BASIC in ROM. The "SOL Price List" appeared in a January 1977 advertisement, so I think it's safe to assume that it had availability before that time given lead times: http://www.old-compu...?t=2&c=344&st=1

Look at the add. The motherboard is only listed as a kit. Only add on boards are listed as assembled at that time.
So, it started as kit only and eventually shipped as an assembled system. The question is when was it offered as assembled.

#67 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:11 PM

It's interesting that it's claimed that only 10,000 were produced, when another contemporary source claims that at their peak they sold 20,000 in a single year: http://books.google....ic 8800&f=false

We have the Apple II, Commodore PET, VideoBrain, and TRS-80, in that order of release so far (though the VideoBrain did not have BASIC in ROM and never had BASIC available in any form, only APL like the IBM 5100). If the SOL-20 was not released until early 1977 in quantity, it still would have beat out the Apple II, though again, the Apple II had its BASIC in ROM. The "SOL Price List" appeared in a January 1977 advertisement, so I think it's safe to assume that it had availability before that time given lead times: http://www.old-compu...?t=2&c=344&st=1

Look at the add. The motherboard is only listed as a kit. Only add on boards are listed as assembled at that time.
So, it started as kit only and eventually shipped as an assembled system. The question is when was it offered as assembled.


Nice catch. That is indeed a good question. I wonder if hearing about some of the buzz about the upcoming competition spurred them to offer assembled versions? (I'm assuming they didn't initially offer them pre-assembled because that wasn't really done at the time) The question then is did they sell a reasonable number of assembled versions before the Apple II's release in June?

In any case, assuming a magazine lead time of about three months - so around October 1976 - was likely the latest they would have had at least some of the kits available. There would then have been AT LEAST 8 months for them to offer pre-assembled options before the Apple II's June 1977 release. In theory, that should have been more than enough time to get their act together to do that behind the scenes.

Edited by Bill_Loguidice, Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:14 PM.


#68 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:20 PM

If the manual shipped before that date it should have multiple copyright years in the copyright. i.e. © 1996, 1997
That is standard copyright procedure.


Yes, "should" and "standard"...

But I work in IT, and my experience tells me that it doesn't mean that's always the case. :-)
I'm not saying it's not. I'm just saying that the "Copyright" doesn't mean that it wasn't released earlier.

desiv

Having and earlier Copyright doesn't mean it was release earlier either... but it does give us some sort of time frame where we had nothing but what was on the websites before.
At least try to do some research instead of just throwing unsubstantiated conjecture out there.

#69 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:31 PM

Nice catch. That is indeed a good question. I wonder if hearing about some of the buzz about the upcoming competition spurred them to offer assembled versions? (I'm assuming they didn't initially offer them pre-assembled because that wasn't really done at the time) The question then is did they sell a reasonable number of assembled versions before the Apple II's release in June?

In any case, assuming a magazine lead time of about three months - so around October 1976 - was likely the latest they would have had at least some of the kits available. There would then have been AT LEAST 8 months for them to offer pre-assembled options before the Apple II's June 1977 release. In theory, that should have been more than enough time to get their act together to do that behind the scenes.

At this point we still don't know if the kit was available in '76 or even if kits were actually shipping when the add ran in January of '77. Having photos of a prototype for an add does not mean you have a machine ready for commercial production. I do think it is safe to assume they had fully cased working prototypes in October '76 based on the add and code dates. But were final boards ready? The manuals in '77 clearly show they were still making hardware revisions at a regular pace in mid '77 so they were clearly rushing things out the door.

We do know that three runs of manuals took place by mid '77. But were those runs of 10, 100, or 1000 manuals?

We also don't know when in '77 the machine was available fully assembled although it was advertised that way in a "WINTER 1977" catalog.
<edit>
BTW, dealers could have bought kits and offered them assembled before the manufacturer actually offered them that way.

For all we know, the manufacturer could have offered fully assembled systems to dealers by time that add ran.

Edited by JamesD, Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:36 PM.


#70 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:36 PM

Nice catch. That is indeed a good question. I wonder if hearing about some of the buzz about the upcoming competition spurred them to offer assembled versions? (I'm assuming they didn't initially offer them pre-assembled because that wasn't really done at the time) The question then is did they sell a reasonable number of assembled versions before the Apple II's release in June?

In any case, assuming a magazine lead time of about three months - so around October 1976 - was likely the latest they would have had at least some of the kits available. There would then have been AT LEAST 8 months for them to offer pre-assembled options before the Apple II's June 1977 release. In theory, that should have been more than enough time to get their act together to do that behind the scenes.

At this point we still don't know if the kit was available in '76 or even if kits were actually shipping when the add ran in January of '77. Having photos of a prototype for an add does not mean you have a machine ready for commercial production. I do think it is safe to assume they had fully cased working prototypes in October '76 based on the add and code dates. But were final boards ready? The manuals in '77 clearly show they were still making hardware revisions at a regular pace in mid '77 so they were clearly rushing things out the door.

We do know that three runs of manuals took place by mid '77. But were those runs of 10, 100, or 1000 manuals?

We also don't know when in '77 the machine was available fully assembled although it was advertised that way in a "WINTER 1977" catalog.



I don't know, having multiple independent reports (the shop keeper, my book, the magazine archives on Google) that were either roughly contemporary to the time or remembrances of the time indicating that not only the kits were available but pre-assembled systems were available in 1976 leads me to believe that there had to be availability at least by early 1977, and certainly before June 1977. ALL of these sources can't be off by a whole year.

As for hardware revisions, even the short-lived VideoBrain had multiple motherboard and other (mostly internal) revisions, and that company was around for what probably amounts to less than a year.

#71 desiv OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:51 PM

Having and earlier Copyright doesn't mean it was release earlier either... but it does give us some sort of time frame where we had nothing but what was on the websites before.
At least try to do some research instead of just throwing unsubstantiated conjecture out there.

As I've said before. I wasn't saying that it did... I threw no conjecture, substantiated or otherwise... I never said it was the first.
I've said things like "this article says it was released here, if you can believe that person."

I never said you were wrong. I was only pointing out that it didn't necessarily mean it wasn't out earlier..

And as I found the article I referenced earlier (and stated "if you can believe that person" to show I wasn't taking it as fact), I did pretty obviously do research on this...
(Admittedly very little research tho; just some googleing.)

Not sure why you are having a problem with me????

Can't we all just get along? :-)

TTYL

desiv

Edited by desiv, Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:53 PM.


#72 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:16 PM

I don't know, having multiple independent reports (the shop keeper, my book, the magazine archives on Google) that were either roughly contemporary to the time or remembrances of the time indicating that not only the kits were available but pre-assembled systems were available in 1976 leads me to believe that there had to be availability at least by early 1977, and certainly before June 1977. ALL of these sources can't be off by a whole year.

I completely missed the link to the shopkeeper article.
The machine was shown in Feb '76 but he doesn't state when in '76 he got machines. The SOL was just an S100 motherboard designed to hold S100 cards in the new case. That could have easily been done in '75 so early '76 would be no problem if they could manufacture them.

I think the original terminal kit design published in Popular Electronics would probably give a firm date for availability... even if it took them a year to fill orders. If they sold 20000 machines I'd guess the largest number was from that article since cheaper competition hit the next year.

The add with the kits was probably targeted at that specific magazine, from Popular Electronics I'd guess.
Complete machines might have been dealer only at first. That would protect the dealer network from mail-order companies.

I'm not sure why the SOL site doesn't have any older info. Maybe they hadn't ramped everything up yet and the first versions were just treated as another Altair and the magazine had the docs at first.

One important thing about the SOL... 4K RAM is enough to run Altair BASIC. It's not enough to do as much with as a machine that has BASIC in ROM and 4K RAM so you would have to buy more memory boards to match the other machines and it was pricey to expand. They really needed to redesign things on a single board.

#73 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:43 PM

I completely missed the link to the shopkeeper article.
The machine was shown in Feb '76 but he doesn't state when in '76 he got machines. The SOL was just an S100 motherboard designed to hold S100 cards in the new case. That could have easily been done in '75 so early '76 would be no problem if they could manufacture them.

I think the original terminal kit design published in Popular Electronics would probably give a firm date for availability... even if it took them a year to fill orders. If they sold 20000 machines I'd guess the largest number was from that article since cheaper competition hit the next year.

The add with the kits was probably targeted at that specific magazine, from Popular Electronics I'd guess.
Complete machines might have been dealer only at first. That would protect the dealer network from mail-order companies.


The InfoWorld link claims 20,000 sold in a single year for SOL and the cryptic "dealership restrictions" as the reason why they lost out by 1978 (I think a lot of companies must have felt the crunch when Radio Shack began selling their own computers from the relative ubiquity of their stores alone)). We can only speculate (for now) what those "dealership restrictions" were, but it could very well have been related to kit versus non-kit. Interestingly, though, to contradict that idea, I DO have a Tandy Computers 1978 catalog with a wide range of systems for sale in it, including the SOL-20 (kit form, $899, assembled, $1099, with a ship weight of 10 lbs.).

#74 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:09 PM

I completely missed the link to the shopkeeper article.
The machine was shown in Feb '76 but he doesn't state when in '76 he got machines. The SOL was just an S100 motherboard designed to hold S100 cards in the new case. That could have easily been done in '75 so early '76 would be no problem if they could manufacture them.

I think the original terminal kit design published in Popular Electronics would probably give a firm date for availability... even if it took them a year to fill orders. If they sold 20000 machines I'd guess the largest number was from that article since cheaper competition hit the next year.

The add with the kits was probably targeted at that specific magazine, from Popular Electronics I'd guess.
Complete machines might have been dealer only at first. That would protect the dealer network from mail-order companies.


The InfoWorld link claims 20,000 sold in a single year for SOL and the cryptic "dealership restrictions" as the reason why they lost out by 1978 (I think a lot of companies must have felt the crunch when Radio Shack began selling their own computers from the relative ubiquity of their stores alone)). We can only speculate (for now) what those "dealership restrictions" were, but it could very well have been related to kit versus non-kit. Interestingly, though, to contradict that idea, I DO have a Tandy Computers 1978 catalog with a wide range of systems for sale in it, including the SOL-20 (kit form, $899, assembled, $1099, with a ship weight of 10 lbs.).



Hmm, based on that Tandy Computers catalog I just mentioned, I took a look at the "Intecolor 8031" in there and came up with this: http://www.old-compu....asp?st=1&c=565 , which THEY claim is from 1975 and has BASIC in ROM. More research is needed, plus as to why it's sometimes referenced as "Intecolor" and "Compucolor". Presumably since the 1978 Tandy catalog calls it the "Intecolor 8031", the company dropped the "Compucolor" designation at some point. It was always my understanding that the Compucolor systems didn't hit until 1978, and were quite expensive at that (in fact, the complete Intecolor 8031 in the catalog is an astounding $4495, which is well over $14,000 in today's dollars!)...

EDIT: The links at the bottom of the Wikipedia page provide some additional, though still vague information - http://en.wikipedia....i/Compucolor_II

Edited by Bill_Loguidice, Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:13 PM.


#75 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:51 PM

OK, despite erroneous reports that the Compucolor 8001 was released as early as 1975, it seems it was at least 1977. The earliest mention is in this apparently 1977 issue of Byte (pity there are no available archives): http://books.google....ved=0CCkQ6wEwAA , "Explore the Universe of Color Compucolor Corp, Norcross GA 30071, announced plans in December 1976 to begin marketing a new 8 color personal computer, the Compucolor 8001, in early December. According to the press release, ..."

This site, http://peripheralexc...us/aboutus2.htm , provides a great history, including the whole name thing: "The "Compucolor 1" was the first intelligent color terminal product based on the 8080 microcomputer architecture. This product evolved rapidly and later was re-branded the name Intecolor. The product name was derived from the founder's notion for the contracted words "Intelligent" and "Color" to come up with "Inte" and "color", or simply "Intecolor"."

and

"The Original 8001 Series

In 1977, ISC's manufacturing operations relocated to a small warehouse and office space located at 5965A Peachtree Corners East in Norcross, Georgia. The first commercially available terminal product was the 8001 Series. Based on an RCA 19-inch delta-gun cathode ray tube (CRT) design, thousands of these terminals were sold. As newer CRT designs became available, the 8001 used a pre-converged in-line (PIL) CRT designs from Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and Panasonic. This product series lasted for 20 years.
" and

"The 8050/8060 Series

In 1978, additional options were designed to extend terminal operations into one of the first standalone microcomputers. Operating systems incorporated within the product had included the BASIC language (in EPROM) which was based on Microsoft BASIC (at the time). Options for floppy disk drives (made by Wangco, Shugart, or Seimens), light pens (ICC), printer drivers (Centronics, Daisywriter, Okidata, Qume, Printronix), programming languages (BASIC, 8080 ASM, FORTRAN IV), and developer tools were added to the product line.



During this time, there were fewer than three companies manufacturing color microcomputer based products with a robust peripheral offering. The 8050 Series was a self-contained microcomputer system having a proprietary file control system known as FCS. It was a precursor to today's DOS based systems.



The 8060 Series was also a self-contained microcomputer system but designed on the CP/M operating system licensed from Digital Research Corporation which was founded by Gary Alan Kildall. Both the 8050 and 8060 Series products filled a niche until about 1988, at which point newer PC competitive products became the new platform of choice
."

So that leaves us earliest some time 1977 and latest early 1978 for the Compucolor 8001, so it still doesn't qualify as first (though technologically it's quite cool).




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