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400/800 not a real computer, apparantly


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#26 Zonie OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:46 PM

...buuuut Commodore marketed my $139 Vic-20 to me as a game computer...



#27 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:06 PM

Dunno why we're listening to a fathead facebooker.
IMHO, CPU + MEMORY + IO = Computer!

#28 GlowingGhoul OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:17 PM

Yes, I was about to mention the PET, the TRS-80 and the Apple ][ though it depends on the reader what is a home computer, what is affordable, what is fully featured etc. I'm sure there may be a few Japanese companies wanting to claim the title "first home computer" too, like Sharp MZ-80K/80C (1979), NEC PC-8001 (1979), Hitachi MB-6890 (1980), Fujitsu FM-8 (May 1981) etc.

 

Actually I have read/heard that Commdore's inspiration for the function keys came from one of the NEC computers, which must've been the PC-8001 since the PC-6001 didn't arrive until 1981 by when the VIC-1001 already was launched. Of course they may just as well have copied the Help, Start, Select, Option, Reset layout from the Atari computers, just renamed the keys F1 - F8.

 

You're splitting hairs. "FIRST HOME COMPUTER". We know what a computer is. We know which ones were primarily designed as home machines. So, which was first? It certainly wasn't the VIC-20, we should all be able to agree on that.



#29 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:27 PM

I mean, if *marketing* is what determines what a computer is... this ad came out years before the VIC-20's release.

 

(edit: found an even better version.)

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • a2original.jpg

Edited by spacecadet, Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:30 PM.


#30 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:18 PM

A real engineer spec'd and designed the Apple II. And it was a success.
A marketing department spec'd and designed the Apple III. It was a failure.

#31 shoestring OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:42 AM

He also stated in the Facebook comments that the VIC-20 and C-64 series combined sold between 35 - 50 million. Even the most aggressive estimates have always been well below the lowest figure in his range. Time is never kind to memories...

 

12-18 million units if you include the C128. And if you include sales of the SX64 or the C64GS then those numbers are probably negligible and not enough to put a significant dent on the existing numbers. Then there's also the boards that were repaired or refurbished by C= and re-sold as new (  unknown number ) . 35-50 million is far too unrealistic.



#32 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:52 AM

I suppose he didn't get paid per unit sold, then he would better remember the sales figures. On the other hand, didn't Michael leave Commodore at the time of the C64 launch, so all subsequent sales would be mostly irrelevant to him unless he kept a soft spot for the company and later products he was not involved with?



#33 shoestring OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:48 AM

Jack Tramiel left Commodore in January 1984 and I'm pretty sure Michael quit soon after.



#34 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:02 AM

Correct, even Wikipedia says Michael left 6 months after Jack did.

 

Jack Tramiel once claimed that Commodore sold nearly a half million C64 per month between the launch in August 1982 until he left in January 1984. That is 18 months or 9 million computers. Jack extrapolated that number to 22 - 30 million sold units during the entire lifetime.

 

Michael though went one step further and in his book "Home Computer Wars" from 1984, he used the figure 22 million sold units even back then, which would be a little over double the figure Jack Tramiel referred to. If Michael believes the C64 sold 1 million units per month during its lifetime, it isn't so strange he comes up to a total of 50 million, should rather be a bit over 100 million with declining sales in the last few years.

 

Marc Walters' research on fiscal numbers estimates about 2 - 2.5 million sold C64's by the time Michael wrote his book, inflating this figure by a factor of 10. So we probably should take his statements with a bag of salt.



#35 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:28 AM

Quite ignorant to say that the birth of the home-computer was 38 year ago, on an event where lots of older (home)computers can be seen.

Or should it be, 'The birth of the reasonably priced, very successful, fully equipped (considering low-res graphics, 5Kb ram, which of 3.5Kb are usable in basic is 'full'), non-membrane keyboard, not being marketed as game console, succeeded by the very successful c64, home-computer!'

#36 shoestring OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:35 AM

Jack Tramiel once claimed that Commodore sold nearly a half million C64 per month between the launch in August 1982 until he left in January 1984. That is 18 months or 9 million computers. Jack extrapolated that number to 22 - 30 million sold units during the entire lifetime.

 

He quoted 500,000 at the C64 25th anniversary, I don't believe that figure is accurate unless he had good reason to revise the number. Memories can be fallible especially after 25 years.

 

During an Atari interview in 1984 on Computer Chronicles he quoted as many as 300,000 C64s being sold per month before he left.

 


Edited by shoestring, Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:37 AM.


#37 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:45 AM

Ok, with 300K per month during the Tramiel period, that is 5.4 million which is only a little over twice the estimate from fiscal numbers, but also only 1/4 of the number Michael supposedly used in his book.

One million, five million, ten million, thirty million sold computers... what difference does it make if the board of directors make sure to take 90% dividends on net profit, or perhaps that happened later in the Commodore history?

#38 Level42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:14 PM

Whatever the total was, the fact is that the C64 sold the most.

 

That didn't make it the best.



#39 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:40 PM

Whatever the total was, the fact is that the C64 sold the most.

 

That didn't make it the best.

 

There is no best, but it was certainly one of the best.



#40 Faicuai OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 9, 2018 12:47 PM

Top, GREATEST 25 PCs of ALL time:
 
https://www.pcworld....me.html?page=14
 
You can read article from the beginning. In any case, both the VIC-20 and C64 did NOT land on that list... 
 
You will find however, the Altair 8800, Xerox 8010 (genesis of modern graphical computing), Commodore Amiga, IBM PC, IBM PC/AT, and, of course, the absolute #1, which is Apple II.

The IBM/PC was developed here in Boca Raton, Florida, by a maverick called Don Estridge, and under direct sponsorship of back-then IBM's CEO... what's really amazing is the 5-year lead-time the Apple-II had over the PC (a testament of Job's and Woz's vision and innovation).... and them how METEORIC the PC's (and Microsoft) rise ended-up being...

Among the list, however, you will find the Atari 800... and in retrospect, I am not really surprised it made its way to the list... Robust and massive inside / out, fully modular architecture, modular and replaceable Operating System, dual cartridge ports / banks, expandable memory banks, dedicate graphics processor, video-adapter processor, input / output processor, audio processor, four (4) bidirectional user-ports, (1) Serial Input / Output port (its patent became the foundation of USB 2.0), RF + Composite + excellent Y/C video output ports, and if you were lucky enough, still *made in U.S.A.* 
 
....and all of that in 1979, WAY before the C64, and making look the Vic-20 as a thing of the past, pretty quickly (that's what makes self-touted "innovation" to be non-innovation, after all).
 
What dumb-ass, vision-less descriptions called "game-machine" were, in reality, describing a hardware model that was more oriented to (what we call today) graphical-computing... This notion was still NOT well understood at that time (not even by Atari itself) but FlashJazz's graphical-interface prototype clearly demonstrates it... thus managing to REWRITE history in a single stroke... and all of it on NATIVE, 1979-1982 chipset, other than an extra 16k memory (!!!) Add, on top of all that, Avery's 60fps video player which again runs on the same 79-82 chipset, off an existing cart. port and negligible use of ram.... and then you start wondering if the 800 should rather be on the top 5 spots, instead

I would have liked to see, however, the Victor 9000 on that list... talk about a HECK of a machine, for its time...
 
Cheers!

#41 rcgldr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 9, 2018 2:22 PM

Altair 8800 was probably the first "home" computer. It was a kit, but there were retailers that sold fully completed systems. One of the companies I worked for during the early 1980's, Pertec Computer Corporation (PCC) bought out Mits, the people who made the Altair 8800. The default operating system was called DOS made by Mits. One of the optional operating systems, was something call CP/M from some startup called Microsoft. There was a C compiler made by a consulting company that could be built for Mits DOS or CP/M (via conditional compile (#if ...) ) , so Microsoft's original C compiler was actually made by a third party consulting group. Pertec also made it's own CP/M system, the PCC 2000, based on the 8085 instead of the more common Z80. It had a monitor, two 8 inch floppies and an 8 inch hard drive (6MB or so) all in one case, and a bank switched memory that could exceed 64K. Most of the CP/M "BIOS" ran in the banked switched memory. There was an in house upgrade to 8086 which ran CP/M 86 with up to 256KB of memory, but it was never sold.

 

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Altair_8800

 

As for a console / computer, the Bally Astrocade had a Z80 cpu, and there was a "Zgrass" upgrade to convert it into a CP/M system. Some vendor also made a CP/M system with 64K ram, but I don't recall who. It's not mentioned in the Wiki article.

 

https://en.wikipedia...Bally_Astrocade


Edited by rcgldr, Sat Jun 9, 2018 2:30 PM.


#42 kheller2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 9, 2018 2:29 PM

I think the issue comes down to the phrase "Full Featured Home Computer."  So obviously one must figure out what "full featured" meant.  And sorry but the V20 was not "full featured" any more or less than any of the other home computers discussed.  I mean other than it not being RAM expandable, etc..  I think someone is just happy they got to build a modem.  I try to look at people who make such statements like that on facebook as "yes, thats nice, how ambiguous a statement is that... " move on.



#43 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 9, 2018 2:45 PM

I know the guy will be biased because of who he is but seriously, VIC20 was the first home computer? Atari 800 was apparently a games computer and TI99/4 wasn't 'fully featured'


Maybe that guy is a millennial?

#44 R.Cade OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 9, 2018 3:47 PM

I've collected serial number data for years and years, and based on what has been entered (about 2800 serials) I would estimate based on the lowest and highest numbers from each serial number series, that there could be up to about 13 million C64's out there that were made. The shareholder's report in 1992 supposedly says 17.x million (I need to find a copy).

 

Now, that is not statistics (I am not a mathematician) and doesn't mean anything. There are many of the series with very little data, and someone could enter a number 1 million higher and then the numbers are all wrong. However, I did not count wildly seemingly wrong serials either that were way above the rest.

 

I don't have data on C128's, and they include a C64 of course. I've heard there were 5 million of those made. I have no idea if that is true. There is also the SX, but I don't think that puts a huge dent in the numbers either. I would guess maybe another half million.

 

Still that is WAY more than Apple or Atari ever sold. Apple only sold less than 5 million Apple II's across the entire line from the II to the IIc and Apple was known to exaggerate and just outright lie in their marketing. Serial numbers tell the real story.

 

I don't know the Atari numbers, but I've heard maybe 2.5 million across all lines there also. However, if you're then going to talk about a "line" of computers, do you include the PET and VIC-20 in the Commodore "line"?


Edited by R.Cade, Sat Jun 9, 2018 4:07 PM.


#45 R.Cade OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 9, 2018 6:57 PM

The shareholders information in 1991 says 12 million sold in the "C64 Family".

 

https://www.facebook...157623821217516



#46 Gunstar ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 9, 2018 11:56 PM

 However, if you're then going to talk about a "line" of computers, do you include the PET and VIC-20 in the Commodore "line"?

I would say a "line" has to be more or less software backward compatible for the most part. So even if some of the main IC's used are the same, if it's not OS software compatible, it's a different line. Of course there are always exceptions, like if the computer is a clone of another brand, or the OS is used over multiple brands, like Windows. But I think a proprietary computer line has to be mostly OS/software backward compatible. While the VIC-20 and VIC-64 (and PET)are generational, they are not the same line, one just succeeded the other, like 16-bits suceeded 8-bits. Even that can get messy, since engineering designer wise, the Atari 8-bit and Amiga are generational, as are the C64 and ST line.


Edited by Gunstar, Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:08 AM.


#47 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:48 AM

It's easy to get into semantics, seeing how people categorize things differently and how marketing departments skew and misuse words like there's no tomorrow.

 

That said.

 

A line of computers tends to be very broad.

TRS-80 line of computers, Model 1-16, PC compatibles, and Pocket Computers all fit into the TRS-80 line.

 

Family means one or more things in common, with emphasis on those things. Family is a subsection of a line. Family and Series often mean the same thing.

The 8-bit family.

The professional family.

Series of home computers.

Professional graphics series

 

Line-up is like different computers built on the same architecture, same OS, compatible software across the line-up. What we have here is different memory configs, cpu speeds, storage..

 

It's all very open to interpretation.



#48 rcgldr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:24 AM

Going back to the early days:

 

1969 - Wang 720 C programmable calculator - it had cassette tape for programs or files and a type ball printer that could move paper both up and down to allow it to be used as a crude plotter. I wrote a few programs on it, including a "loader" program that let the user enter a number to select and load a program from a series of programs stored on a tape, a Runge Kutta 4 to solve basic differential equations, and some other general programs. (my experience with this was in 1971)

 

http://www.oldcalcul...om/wang720.html

 

1975 - Altair 8800  (already noted above in a few posts)

 

1975 - IBM 5100 - a 50+ lb "luggable" that could run APL or Basic, lots of rom, but only 64K of ram in most cases. Very expensive. I saw two of these at a local junior college. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_5100

 

1976 - Generic "S100" bus (the bus used on the Altair 8800) and proprietary bus CP/M systems.

 

1977 - Apple II

 

The main application for CP/M systems used by most businesses was Word Star, which continued to be popular when ported to early PC's.



#49 ClausB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:27 PM

Sales figures are a product as much of marketing tactics as of design features. You can categorize microcomputers into two design categories: innovative or derivative. Atari 400/800 in 1979 belong in the first. The later V20 and C64 belong in the second.

#50 Faicuai OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:10 PM

Sales figures are a product as much of marketing tactics as of design features. You can categorize microcomputers into two design categories: innovative or derivative. Atari 400/800 in 1979 belong in the first. The later V20 and C64 belong in the second.


Bingo!

Could harldy be better said. That's exactly what's at the core if the issue and why the Vic-20 and C64 did not make it to the list, regardless of sales numbers.... After all, Commodre's implosion ended up being as spectacular as its C64 sales... :-/




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