TRS-80 by Tandy / Radio Shack
Yes I know it’s not a portable computer. In fact it’s barely a computer. But it gets into my list as it was the first computer I ever owned. I learned to program in basic and Z80 assembler code, and even ran my first business running a marketing database that sent reminders out from the ‘Green lane motor company’ that their clients’ car was due for service. I had to fight an Epson MX-80 dot matrix printer and make mailing labels every month. Later I got a second client and used to send reminders to husbands that their anniversary was coming up, offering a free glass of wine with coupon. My dad and I easily paid for the hardware with (early) junk-mail! So I suppose it really was a computer.
“Combined into one unit is the microcomputer circuitry and a 53-key professional-type keyboard input. The “brain” of the computer is a Zilog Z-80 microprocessor that serves as the central processing unit. This remarkable device, about the size of a watermelon seed, is one of the most advanced microprocessor chips available today”
By 1979, the TRS-80 had the largest available selection of software in the microcomputer market – including some bad adventure programs written by me.
In my defense, it did come with an optional transit case!
TRS-80’s has the Zilog Z-80 processor and 4K or 16K of RAM. By the time I’d finished upgrading mine, it had two 87.3K Floppy Drives. Tandy sold over 10,000 TRS-80s Model Is in its first one and a half months of sales, and over 200,000 during the product’s lifetime. The product was popular enough it had a clone – the Video Genie. I actually had a Video Genie as it was a long way to a Radio Shack where I lived in England.
There is still some activity on the web for die-hard ‘trash-80’ owners – Try TRS-80.org.uk who are still producing a monthly newsletter!
For all your Radio Shack TRS-80 model catalog wants: www.radioshackcatalogs.com/computer.html
TRS-80 Hobby Sites:
Try this if you want to re-create the Tandy experience: Emulators
Elsewhere on rugged-portable: TRS-80 Model 100
Unfortunately I don’t have any copies of the TRS-80 games I wrote – mostly poor clones of Scott Adams adventures; many of which I hadn’t played before “re-creating” them. Here’s a link to emulators specifically for you text adventure addicts: Scott Adams
1977 – IBM Portable PC5110 1978>