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TANDY TRS-80 MODEL 100   -   1983

The TRS-80 Model 100 was designed by Kyocera of Japan, who licenced the same design to NEC, Tandy, and Olivetti, who subsequently released almost identical computer systems.
The Tandy TRS-80 model 100 "Micro Executive Workstation" was by far the most popular though, due to the Radio Shack chain of electronics stores throughout America.
These are considered the world's first laptop computers, sporting a full-size keyboard, and enough ports to satisfy everyones needs. They all come with built-in software - the model 100 has: 
  • Microsoft BASIC programming language
  • word processing software
  • telecommunications software
  • built-in 300 baud modem
  • Small size, a good keyboard and display made the model 100 very popular, especially with people on-the-go. There is no internal storage capability other than the battery-backed RAM, and a cassette recorder or external 5 1/4-inch floppy drive must be used for permanent data storage.


Radio Shack Pocket Computer
Model: PC-1
Introduced: July 1980
Weight: 170g / 6.0 oz.
Price: US $230
CPU: SC43177, SC43178
RAM: 1.5K
Ports: Expansion connector
Display: 24 X 1 text LCD
Storage: * Cassette storage
Options: * Printer, Tape I/O
* Requires Expansion Interface

This new TRS-80 Computer is another "first" from the company which brought you the best-selling, world renowned TRS-80. A truly pocket-sized Computer (not a programmable calculator). Of course it is an ultra-powerful calculator too... And it "speaks" BASIC - - the most common computer language, and the easiest to learn. You'll soon be impressed by the phenomenal computing power of this hand-held TRS-80 - - ideal for mathematics, engineering and business application.

TANDY TRS -80   -   MODEL 1 - 1977

Radio Shack TRS-80
(Model I)
Catalog: 26-1001
Released: August 1977
Price: US $599.95 (with monitor)
How Many: 200,000 (1977-1981)
CPU: Zilog Z-80A, 1.77 MHz
RAM: 4K, 16K max*
Ports: Cassette I/O, video,
  Expansion connector*
Display: 12-inch monochrome monitor
  64 X 16 text
Expansion: External Expansion Interface*
Storage: Cassette storage*
* Additional capabilties with Expansion Interface


Where's the computer? It's in the keyboard! As one of the first home computers ever, the TRS-80 was a great success. Tandy wasn't expecting many sales, but this, their first computer, sold 10,000 units in the first month alone. It includes everything you need to have a real computer of your very own - the computer, monitor and cassette deck for loading and saving data.
Yes, these were the days when you bought, loaded and saved your data and programs on cassette tapes.
Floppy disk drives didn't come into common use until years later. Even then, they were very expensive, costing hundreds of dollars.
The TRS-80 Mini-Disk was available within a year of the TRS-80 microcomputer's release, but it cost $499, more than the computer itself.Even three years later, in 1980, the TRS-80 floppy drive still costs about $425.

TRS 80 MC-10    1983




Radio Shack TRS-80 MC-10
Released: Late 1983
Price: US$119.95
CPU: Motorola MC6803 @ 0.89 MHz
RAM: 4K internal, 16K external
Ports: serial, cassette, TV out
Display: 32 x 16 text, 8 colors
  optional thermal printer
Strorage: cassette recorder
OS: Microsoft BASIC in ROM

Super cheap, barely useful computers were sold by the millions in the early 80's. The scheme worked great for Sinclair of the UK - the Sinclair ZX-80 ($199) in 1980, and the Sinclair ZX-81 ($99) in 1981, combined easily sold over 500,000 units.

The Timex/Sinclair 1000 ($99) in 1982 sold more than that all by itself, and the new and improved Timex/Sinclair 1500 from 1983 sold for less than $80.

The TRS-80 MC-10 (MC=Micro Color) is a scaled-down version of the original TRS-80 Color Computer computer from 1980. The reason for this is apparently because cheap, simple computers seem to be popular, and the MC-10 has a few things going for it which most of the Sinclairs lacked - a better keyboard, and a color display.

To keep the price down, the MC-10 has only 4K of RAM, but just like the Sinclairs, an external 16K RAM module ($69.95) can be added, as seen in the pictures here, for a total of 20K of RAM.

While the MC-10 may be superior to the "competition", like them it is too small and limited to be useful for either work or play

Another inexpensive color system, the Mattel Aquarius computer from the same year, sold very poorly as well.

There were just too many new computers in the year 1983, and competition was fierce. The price of older systems was dropping, making them a better deal than the simple micro-computers like the MC-10.

TRS 80 - MODEL 4    -  1983


The TRS-80 model 4 (ref 26-1068/69) was one of the last models of the TRS-80 series (and perhaps the less known). It ran at 4 MHz and displayed 80 columns x 24 lines in Model 4 mode, but was fully compatible with the TRS-80 model 3 and in Model 3 mode actually displayed 64x16 and ran at the Model 3's 2 MHz.

It had 64 or 128 KB RAM, the 64 upper KB being used as a ram disk. It had one or two 5.25" floppy disk (184 KB each) and ran under TRSDOS 6.0 or 1.3, LDOS or CP/M.

A transformation kit "TRS80 model III -> model IV" was available.

The Model 4 was followed by the Model 4D (ref. 26-1070). The only difference being double sided drives -384 KB, instead of single sided drives.

A portable version of the Model IV called Model 4P (ref. 26-1080) was also marketed few time after.

TRS 80 - MODEL 4P - 1983



The Model 4P was supposedly "portable", but it was still a fairly substantial box. Mine weighs in at around 25 pounds. The standard configuration was 2 half height single sided drives, and 64k. This machine had the best keyboard out of all the TRS-80s. There was no Model 3 ROM included, but the 4K boot ROM it had could read a Model 3 ROM image file off diskette for the people who needed to run Model 3 software. In addition to the built in serial port, the 4P could be equipped with an internal modem... as long as you didn't want to go any faster than 300 baud.