en.wikipedia.org, 2022-09-26 | Main page
Saved from web.archive.org, with Lynx.
   #alternate Edit this page Wikipedia (en)

Home computer

   From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
   Jump to navigation Jump to search
   Class of microcomputers
   This article is primarily about a certain class of personal computers
   from the late 1970s to mid-1980s. See home server and home automation
   or desktop computer for other uses of a computer in a home.
   Children playing Paperboy on an Amstrad CPC 464 in 1988
   The often sprawling nature of a well-outfitted home computer is evident
   with this Tandy Color Computer 3
   The computers Byte retrospectively called the "1977 Trinity" (L-R):
   Commodore PET 2001-8, Apple II, TRS-80 Model I. ^[1]

   Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market
   in 1977 and became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to
   consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first
   time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user. These
   computers were a distinct market segment that typically cost much less
   than business, scientific or engineering-oriented computers of the time
   such as those running CP/M or the IBM PC,^[2] and were generally less
   powerful in terms of memory and expandability. However, a home computer
   often had better graphics and sound than contemporary business
   computers. Their most common uses were playing video games, but they
   were also regularly used for word processing and programming.

   Home computers were usually sold already manufactured in stylish metal
   or plastic enclosures. However, some home computers also came as
   commercial electronic kits like the Sinclair ZX80 which were both home
   and home-built computers since the purchaser could assemble the unit
   from a kit.

   Advertisements in the popular press for early home computers were rife
   with possibilities for their practical use in the home, from cataloging
   recipes to personal finance to home automation,^[3]^[4]^[5] but these
   were seldom realized in practice. For example, using a typical 1980s
   home computer as a home automation appliance would require the computer
   to be kept powered on at all times and dedicated to this task. Personal
   finance and database use required tedious data entry.

   By contrast, advertisements in the specialty computer press often
   simply listed specifications, assuming a knowledgeable user who already
   had applications in mind.^[6]^[7] If no packaged software was available
   for a particular application, the home computer user could program
   one--provided they had invested the requisite hours to learn computer
   programming, as well as the idiosyncrasies of their system.^[8]^[9]
   Since most systems arrived with the BASIC programming language included
   on the system ROM, it was easy for users to get started creating their
   own simple applications. Many users found programming to be a fun and
   rewarding experience, and an excellent introduction to the world of
   digital technology.^[10]

   The line between 'business' and 'home' computer market segments
   vanished completely once IBM PC compatibles became commonly used in the
   home, since now both categories of computers typically use the same
   processor architectures, peripherals, operating systems, and
   applications. Often the only difference may be the sales outlet through
   which they are purchased. Another change from the home computer era is
   that the once-common endeavour of writing one's own software programs
   has almost vanished from home computer use.^[11]^[12]
   [ ]


     * 1 Background
     * 2 Technology
          + 2.1 PCs at home
          + 2.2 High performance
          + 2.3 MSX
     * 3 Radio frequency interference
     * 4 Reception and sociological impact
     * 5 Use in the 21st century
     * 6 Notable home computers
          + 6.1 1970s
          + 6.2 1980s
          + 6.3 1990s
     * 7 See also
     * 8 References
     * 9 External links


   Mary Allen Wilkes working on the LINC at home in 1965; thought to be
   the first home computer user
   The 1974 MITS Altair 8800 home computer (atop extra 8-inch floppy disk
   drive): one of the earliest computers affordable and marketed to
   private / home use from 1975, but many buyers got a kit, to be
   hand-soldered and assembled.

   As early as 1965, some experimental projects, such as Jim Sutherland's
   ECHO IV, explored the possible utility of a computer in the
   home.^[13]^[14] In 1969, the Honeywell Kitchen Computer was marketed as
   a luxury gift item, and would have inaugurated the era of home
   computing, but none were sold.^[15]

   Computers became affordable for the general public in the 1970s due to
   the mass production of the microprocessor starting in 1971. Early
   microcomputers such as the Altair 8800 had front-mounted switches and
   diagnostic lights (nicknamed "blinkenlights") to control and indicate
   internal system status, and were often sold in kit form to hobbyists.
   These kits would contain an empty printed circuit board which the buyer
   would fill with the integrated circuits, other individual electronic
   components, wires and connectors, and then hand-solder all the

   While two early home computers (Sinclair ZX80 and Acorn Atom) could be
   bought either in kit form or assembled, most home computers were only
   sold pre-assembled. They were enclosed in plastic or metal cases
   similar in appearance to typewriter or hi-fi equipment enclosures,
   which were more familiar and attractive to consumers than the
   industrial metal card-cage enclosures used by the Altair and similar
   computers. The keyboard - a feature lacking on the Altair - was usually
   built into the same case as the motherboard. Ports for plug-in
   peripheral devices such as a video display, cassette tape recorders,
   joysticks, and (later) disk drives were either built-in or available on
   expansion cards. Although the Apple II series had internal expansion
   slots, most other home computer models' expansion arrangements were
   through externally accessible 'expansion ports' that also served as a
   place to plug in cartridge-based games. Usually the manufacturer would
   sell peripheral devices designed to be compatible with their computers
   as extra cost accessories. Peripherals and software were not often
   interchangeable between different brands of home computer, or even
   between successive models of the same brand.

   To save the cost of a dedicated monitor, the home computer would often
   connect through an RF modulator to the family TV set, which served as
   both video display and sound system.^[17]

   The rise of the home computer also led to a fundamental shift during
   the early 1980s in where and how computers were purchased.
   Traditionally, microcomputers were obtained by mail order or were
   purchased in person at general electronics retailers like RadioShack.
   Silicon Valley, in the vanguard of the personal computer revolution,
   was the first place to see the appearance of new retail stores
   dedicated to selling only computer hardware, computer software, or
   both, and also the first place where such stores began to specialize in
   particular platforms.^[18]

   By 1982, an estimated 621,000 home computers were in American
   households, at an average sales price of US$530 (equivalent to $1,488
   in 2021).^[19] After the success of the Radio Shack TRS-80, the
   Commodore PET and the Apple II in 1977, almost every manufacturer of
   consumer electronics rushed to introduce a home computer. Large numbers
   of new machines of all types began to appear during the late 1970s and
   early 1980s. Mattel, Coleco, Texas Instruments and Timex, none of which
   had any prior connection to the computer industry, all had short-lived
   home computer lines in the early 1980s. Some home computers were more
   successful - the BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Atari 800XL and
   Commodore 64 sold many units over several years and attracted
   third-party software development.

   Almost universally, home computers had a BASIC interpreter combined
   with a line editor in permanent read-only memory which one could use to
   type in BASIC programs and execute them immediately or save them to
   tape or disk. In direct mode, the BASIC interpreter was also used as
   the user interface, and given tasks such as loading, saving, managing,
   and running files.^[20] One exception was the Jupiter Ace, which had a
   Forth interpreter instead of BASIC. A built-in programming language was
   seen as a requirement for any computer of the era, and was the main
   feature setting home computers apart from video game consoles.

   Still, home computers competed in the same market as the consoles. A
   home computer was often seen as simply as a higher end purchase than a
   console, adding abilities and productivity potential to what would
   still be mainly a gaming device. A common marketing tactic was to show
   a computer system and console playing games side by side, then
   emphasizing the computer's greater ability by showing it running
   user-created programs, education software, word processing, spreadsheet
   and other applications while the game console showed a blank screen or
   continued playing the same repetitive game. Another capability home
   computers had that game consoles of the time lacked was the ability to
   access remote services over telephone lines by adding a serial port
   interface, a modem, and communication software. Though it could be
   costly, it permitted the computer user to access services like
   Compuserve and private or corporate bulletin board systems and viewdata
   services to post or read messages, or to download or upload software.
   Some enthusiasts with computers equipped with large storage capacity
   and a dedicated phone line operated bulletin boards of their own. This
   capability anticipated the internet by nearly twenty years.

   Some game consoles offered "programming packs" consisting of a version
   of BASIC in a ROM cartridge. Atari's BASIC Programming for the Atari
   2600 was one of these. For the ColecoVision console, Coleco even
   announced an expansion module which would convert it into a
   full-fledged computer system. The Magnavox Odyssey^2 game console had a
   built-in keyboard to support its C7420 Home Computer Module.

   Books of type-in program listings like BASIC Computer Games were
   available dedicated for the BASICs of most models of computer with
   titles along the lines of 64 Amazing BASIC Games for the Commodore
   64.^[21] While most of the programs in these books were short and
   simple games or demos, some titles such as Compute!'s SpeedScript
   series, contained productivity software that rivaled commercial
   packages. To avoid the tedious process of typing in a program listing
   from a book, these books would sometimes include a mail-in offer from
   the author to obtain the programs on disk or cassette for a few
   dollars. Before the Internet, and before most computer owners had a
   modem, books were a popular and low-cost means of software
   distribution--one that had the advantage of incorporating its own
   documentation. These books also served a role in familiarizing new
   computer owners with the concepts of programming; some titles added
   suggested modifications to the program listings for the user to carry
   out. Applying a patch to modify software to be compatible with one's
   system or writing a utility program to fit one's needs was a skill
   every advanced computer owner was expected to have.^[22]

   During the peak years of the home computer market, scores of models
   were produced, usually as individual design projects with little or no
   thought given to compatibility between different manufacturers or even
   within product lines of the same manufacturer.^[23] Except for the
   Japanese MSX standard,^[24] the concept of a computer platform was
   still forming, with most companies considering rudimentary BASIC
   language and disk format compatibility sufficient to claim a model as
   "compatible". Things were different in the business world, where
   cost-conscious small business owners had been using CP/M running on Z80
   based computers from Osborne, Kaypro, Morrow Designs and a host of
   other manufacturers. For many of these businesses, the development of
   the microcomputer made computing and business software affordable where
   they had not been before.

   Introduced in August 1981, the IBM Personal Computer would eventually
   supplant CP/M as the standard platform used in business. This was
   largely due to the IBM name and the system's 16 bit open architecture,
   which expanded maximum memory tenfold, and also encouraged production
   of third-party clones. In the late 1970s, the 6502-based Apple II
   series had carved out a niche for itself in business, thanks to the
   industry's first killer app, VisiCalc, released in 1979. However the
   Apple II would quickly be displaced for office use by IBM PC
   compatibles running Lotus 1-2-3.^[25] Apple Computer's 1980 Apple III
   was underwhelming, and although the 1984 release of the Apple Macintosh
   introduced the modern GUI to the market, it wasn't common until
   IBM-compatible computers adopted it.^[26] Throughout the 1980s,
   businesses large and small adopted the PC platform, leading, by the end
   of the decade, to sub-US$1000 IBM PC XT-class white box machines,
   usually built in Asia and sold by US companies like PCs Limited.

   In 1980 Wayne Green, the publisher of Kilobaud Microcomputing,
   recommended that companies avoid the term "home computer" in their
   advertising as "I feel is self-limiting for sales ... I prefer the term
   "microcomputers" since it doesn't limit the uses of the equipment in
   the imagination of the prospective customers".^[27] With the exception
   of Tandy,^[28] most computer companies - even those with a majority of
   sales to home users - agreed, avoiding the term "home computer" because
   of its association with the image of, as Compute! wrote, "a
   low-powered, low-end machine primarily suited for playing games". Apple
   consistently avoided stating that it was a home-computer company, and
   described the IIc as "a serious computer for the serious home user"
   despite competing against IBM's PCjr home computer. John Sculley denied
   that his company sold home computers; rather, he said, Apple sold
   "computers for use in the home".^[29]^[30]^[31] In 1990 the company
   reportedly refused to support joysticks on its low-cost Macintosh LC
   and IIsi computers to prevent customers from considering them as "game

   Although the Apple II and Atari computers are functionally similar,
   Atari's home-oriented marketing resulted in a game-heavy library with
   much less business software.^[33] By the late 1980s, many mass
   merchants sold video game consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment
   System, but no longer sold home computers.^[34]

   Toward the end of the 1980s, clones also became popular with
   non-corporate customers. Inexpensive, highly compatible clones
   succeeded where the PCjr had failed. Replacing the hobbyists who had
   made up the majority of the home computer market were, as Compute!
   described them, "people who want to take work home from the office now
   and then, play a game now and then, learn more about computers, and
   help educate their children". By 1986 industry experts predicted an
   "MS-DOS Christmas", and the magazine stated that clones threatened
   Commodore, Atari, and Apple's domination of the home-computer

   The declining cost of IBM compatibles on the one hand, and the greatly
   increased graphics, sound, and storage abilities of fourth generation
   video game consoles such as the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo
   Entertainment System on the other, combined to cause the market segment
   for home computers to vanish by the early 1990s in the US. In Europe,
   the home computer remained a distinct presence for a few years more,
   with the low-end models of the 16-bit Amiga and Atari ST families being
   the dominant players, but by the mid-1990s even the European market had
   dwindled.^[35] The Dutch government even ran a program that allowed
   businesses to sell computers tax-free to its employees, often
   accompanied by home training programs. Naturally, these businesses
   chose to equip their employees with the same systems they themselves
   were using. Today a computer bought for home use anywhere will be very
   similar to those used in offices - made by the same manufacturers, with
   compatible peripherals, operating systems, and application software.


   A Commodore 64 system, showing the basic layout of a typical home
   computer system of the era. Pictured are the CPU/keyboard unit, floppy
   disk drive, and dedicated color monitor. Many systems also had a dot
   matrix printer for producing paper output.
   Eastern Bloc computers were often significantly different in appearance
   from western computers. Pictured is a KC 85/3 with its keyboard placed
   on top, by VEB Mikroelektronik Muehlhausen released in 1986 and based
   on an East German Zilog Z80 clone.
   The Soviet Electronika BK0010.01 home computer was based on the
   K1801VM1 (Soviet LSI-11-compatible CPU) and was, basically, a very
   stripped-down PDP-11.

   Many home computers were superficially similar. Most had a keyboard
   integrated into the same case as the motherboard, or, more frequently,
   a mainboard--while the expandable home computers appeared from the very
   start (the Apple II offered as many as seven expansion slots), as the
   whole segment was generally aimed downmarket, few offers were priced or
   positioned high enough to allow for such expandability. Some systems
   have only one expansion port, often realized in the form of cumbersome
   "sidecar" system, such as on the TI-99/4, or required finicky and
   unwieldy ribbon cables to connect the expansion modules.

   Sometimes they were equipped with a cheap membrane or chiclet keyboard
   in the early days, although full-travel keyboards quickly became
   universal due to overwhelming consumer preference. Most systems could
   use an RF modulator to display 20-40 column text output on a home
   television. Indeed, the use of a television set as a display almost
   defines the pre-PC home computer. Although dedicated composite or
   "green screen" computer displays were available for this market segment
   and offered a sharper display, a monitor was often a later purchase
   made only after users had bought a floppy disk drive, printer, modem,
   and the other pieces of a full system. The reason for this was that
   while those TV-monitors had difficulty displaying the clear and
   readable 80-column text that became the industry standard at the time,
   the only consumers who really needed that were the power users
   utilizing the machine for business purposes, while the average casual
   consumer would use the system for games only and was content with the
   lower resolution for which a TV worked fine. An important exception was
   the Radio Shack TRS-80, the first mass-marketed computer for home use,
   which included its own 64-column display monitor and full-travel
   keyboard as standard features.

   This "peripherals sold separately" approach is another defining
   characteristic of the home computer era. A first time computer buyer
   who brought a base C-64 system home and hooked it up to their TV would
   find they needed to buy a disk drive (the Commodore 1541 was the only
   fully compatible model) or Datasette before they could make use of it
   as anything but a game machine or TV Typewriter.

   In the early part of the 1980s, the dominant microprocessors used in
   home computers were the 8-bit MOS Technology 6502 (Apple, Commodore,
   Atari, BBC Micro) and Zilog Z80 (TRS-80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore
   128, Amstrad CPC). One exception was the TI-99 series, announced in
   1979 with a 16-bit TMS9900 CPU.^[36] The TI was originally to use the
   8-bit 9985 processor designed especially for it, but this project was
   cancelled. However, the glue logic needed to retrofit the 16-bit CPU to
   an 8-bit 9985 system negated the advantages of the more powerful
   CPU.^[37]^[38] Another exception was the Soviet Elektronika BK series
   of 1984, which used the fully 16-bit and powerful for the time 1801
   series CPU, offering a full PDP-11 compatibility and a fully functional
   Q-Bus slot, though at the cost of very anemic RAM and graphics. The
   Motorola 6809 was used by the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer, the
   Fujitsu FM-7, and Dragon 32/64.

   Processor clock rates were typically 1-2 MHz for 6502 and 6809 based
   CPU's and 2-4 MHz for Z80 based systems (yielding roughly equal
   performance), but this aspect was not emphasized by users or
   manufacturers, as the systems' limited RAM capacity, graphics abilities
   and storage options had a more perceivable effect on performance than
   CPU speed. For low-price computers the cost of RAM memory chips
   contributed greatly to the final product price to the consumer, and
   fast CPUs demanded expensive, fast memory. So designers kept clock
   rates only adequate; in some cases like the Atari and Commodore 8-bit
   machines, coprocessors were added to speed processing of graphics and
   audio data. For these computers clock rate was considered a technical
   detail of interest only to users needing accurate timing for their own
   programs. To economize on component cost, often the same crystal used
   to produce color television compatible signals was also divided down
   and used for the processor clock. This meant processors rarely operated
   at their full rated speed, and had the side-effect that European and
   North American versions of the same home computer operated at slightly
   different speeds and different video resolution due to different
   television standards.

   Initially, many home computers used the then-ubiquitous compact audio
   cassette as a storage mechanism. A rough analogy to how this worked
   would be to place a recorder on the phone line as a file was uploaded
   by modem to "save" it, and playing the recording back through the modem
   to "load".^[39] Most cassette implementations were notoriously slow and
   unreliable, but 8" drives were too bulky for home use, and early 5.25"
   form factor drives were priced for business use, out of reach of most
   home buyers.^[40] An innovative alternative was the Exatron Stringy
   Floppy, a continuous loop tape drive which was much faster than a
   datacassette drive and could perform much like a floppy disk drive. It
   was available for the TRS-80 and some others. A closely related
   technology was the ZX Microdrive developed by Sinclair Research in the
   UK for their ZX Spectrum and QL home computers.

   Eventually mass production of 5.25" drives resulted in lower prices,
   and after about 1984 they pushed cassette drives out of the US home
   computer market. 5.25" floppy disk drives would remain standard until
   the end of the 8-bit era. Though external 3.5" drives were made
   available for home computer systems toward the latter part of the
   1980s, almost all software sold for 8-bit home computers remained on
   5.25" disks; 3.5" drives were used for data storage, with the exception
   of the Japanese MSX standard, on which 5.25" floppies were never
   popular. Standardization of disk formats was not common; sometimes even
   different models from the same manufacturer used different disk
   formats. Almost universally the floppy disk drives available for 8-bit
   home computers were housed in external cases with their own controller
   boards and power supplies contained within. Only the later, advanced
   8-bit home computers housed their drives within the main unit; these
   included the TRS-80 Model III, TRS-80 Model 4, Apple IIc, MSX2, and
   Commodore 128D. The later 16-bit machines such as the Atari 1040ST (not
   the 520ST), the Commodore Amigas, and the Tandy 1000s did house floppy
   drive(s) internally. At any rate, to expand any computer with
   additional floppy drives external units would have to be plugged in.

   Toward the end of the home computer era, drives for a number of home
   computer models appeared offering disk-format compatibility with the
   IBM PC. The disk drives sold with the Commodore 128, Amiga and Atari ST
   were all able to read and write PC disks, which themselves were
   undergoing the transition from 5.25" to 3.5" format at the time (though
   5.25" drives remained common on PCs until the late 1990s, due to
   existence of the large software and data archives on five-inch
   floppies). 5.25" drives were made available for the ST, Amiga and
   Macintosh, otherwise 3.5" based systems with no other use for a 5.25"
   format. Hard drives were never popular on home computers, remaining an
   expensive, niche product mainly for BBS sysops and the few business

   Various copy protection schemes were developed for floppy disks; most
   were broken in short order. Many users would only tolerate copy
   protection for games, as wear and tear on disks was a significant issue
   in an entirely floppy-based system. The ability to make a "working
   backup" disk of vital application software was seen as important. Copy
   programs that advertised their ability to copy or even remove common
   protection schemes were a common category of utility software in this
   pre-DMCA era.

   In another defining characteristic of the home computer, instead of a
   command line, the BASIC interpreter served double duty as a user
   interface. Coupled to a character-based screen or line editor, BASIC's
   file management commands could be entered in direct mode. In contrast
   to modern computers, home computers most often had their operating
   system (OS) stored in ROM chips. This made startup times very fast - no
   more than a few seconds - but made OS upgrades difficult or impossible
   without buying a new unit. Usually only the most severe bugs were fixed
   by issuing new ROMs to replace the old ones at the user's cost. Also,
   the small size and limited scope of home computer "operating systems"
   (really little more than what today would be called a kernel) left
   little room for bugs to hide.

   Although modern operating systems include extensive programming
   libraries to ease development and promote standardization, home
   computer operating systems provided little support to application
   programs. Professionally written software often switched out the ROM
   based OS anyway to free the address space it occupied and maximize RAM
   capacity. This gave the program full control of the hardware and
   allowed the programmer to optimize performance for a specific task.
   Games would often turn off unused I/O ports, as well as the interrupts
   that served them. As multitasking was never common on home computers,
   this practice went largely unnoticed by users. Most software even
   lacked an exit command, requiring a reboot to use the system for
   something else.

   In an enduring reflection of their early cassette-oriented nature, most
   home computers loaded their disk operating system (DOS) separately from
   the main OS. The DOS was only used for disk and file related commands
   and was not required to perform other computing functions. One
   exception was Commodore DOS, which was not loaded into the computer's
   main memory at all - Commodore disk drives contained a 6502 processor
   and ran DOS from internal ROM. While this gave Commodore systems some
   advanced capabilities - a utility program could sideload a disk copy
   routine onto the drive and return control to the user while the drive
   copied the disk on its own - it also made Commodore drives more
   expensive and difficult to clone.

   Many home computers had a cartridge interface which accepted ROM-based
   software. This was also used for expansion or upgrades such as fast
   loaders. Application software on cartridge did exist, which loaded
   instantly and eliminated the need for disk swapping on single drive
   setups, but the vast majority of cartridges were games.^[41]

PCs at home[edit]

   From the introduction of the IBM Personal Computer (ubiquitously known
   as the PC) in 1981, the market for computers meant for the corporate,
   business, and government sectors came to be dominated by the new
   machine and its MS-DOS operating system. Even basic PCs cost thousands
   of dollars and were far out of reach for typical home computerists.
   However, in the following years technological advances and improved
   manufacturing capabilities (mainly greater use of robotics and
   relocation of production plants to lower-wage locations in Asia)
   permitted several computer companies to offer lower-cost PC style
   machines that would become competitive with many 8-bit home-market
   pioneers like Radio Shack, Commodore, Atari, Texas Instruments, and
   Sinclair. PCs could never become as affordable as these because the
   same price-reducing measures were available to all computer makers.
   Furthermore, software and peripherals for PC style computers tended to
   cost more than those for 8-bit computers because of the anchoring
   effect caused by the pricey IBM PC. As well, PCs were inherently more
   expensive since they could not use the home TV set as a video display.
   Nonetheless, the overall reduction in manufacturing costs narrowed the
   price difference between old 8-bit technology and new PCs. Despite
   their higher absolute prices PCs were perceived by many to be better
   values for their utility as superior productivity tools and their
   access to industry-standard software. Another advantage was the
   8088/8086's wide, 20-bit address bus: the PC could access more than 64
   kilobytes of memory relatively inexpensively (8-bit CPUs, which
   generally had multiplexed 16-bit address buses, required complicated,
   tricky memory management techniques like bank-switching). Similarly,
   the default PC floppy was double-sided with about twice the storage
   capacity of floppy disks used by 8-bit home computers. PC drives tended
   to cost less because they were most often built-in, requiring no
   external case, controller, and power supply. The faster clock rates and
   wider buses available to later Intel CPUs compensated somewhat for the
   custom graphics and sound chips of the Commodores and Ataris. In time
   the growing popularity of home PCs spurred many software publishers to
   offer gaming and children's software titles.^[42]

   Many decision makers in the computer industry believed there could be a
   viable market for office workers who used PC/DOS computers at their
   jobs and would appreciate an ability to bring diskettes of data home on
   weeknights and weekends to continue work after-hours on their "home"
   computers. So the ability to run industry-standard MS-DOS software on
   affordable, user-friendly PCs was anticipated as a source of new sales.
   Furthermore, many in the industry felt that MS-DOS would eventually
   (inevitably, it seemed) come to dominate the computer business
   entirely, and some manufacturers felt the need to offer individual
   customers PC-style products suitable for the home market.

   In early 1984 market colossus IBM produced the PCjr as a
   PC/DOS-compatible machine aimed squarely at the home user. It proved a
   spectacular failure because IBM deliberately limited its capabilities
   and expansion possibilities in order to avoid cannibalizing sales of
   the profitable PC. IBM management believed that if they made the PCjr
   too powerful too many buyers would prefer it over the bigger, more
   expensive PC. Poor reviews in the computer press and poor sales doomed
   the PCjr.

   Tandy Corporation capitalized on IBM's blunder with its PCjr-compatible
   Tandy 1000 in November. Like the PCjr it was pitched as a home,
   education, and small-business computer featuring joystick ports, better
   sound and graphics (same as the PCjr but with enhancements), combined
   with near-PC/DOS compatibility (unlike Tandy's earlier Tandy 2000). The
   improved Tandy 1000 video hardware became a standard of its own, known
   as Tandy Graphics Adapter or TGA. Later Tandy produced Tandy 1000
   variants in form factors and price-points even more suited to the home
   computer market, comprised particularly by the Tandy 1000 EX^[43] and
   HX^[44] models (later supplanted by the 1000 RL^[45]^[46]), which came
   in cases resembling the original Apple IIs (CPU, keyboard, expansion
   slots, and power supply in a slimline cabinet) but also included floppy
   disk drives. The proprietary Deskmate productivity suite came bundled
   with the Tandy 1000s. Deskmate was suited to use by computer novices
   with its point-and-click (though not graphical) user interface. From
   the launch of the Tandy 1000 series, their manufacture were
   price-competitive because of Tandy's use of high-density ASIC chip
   technology, which allowed their engineers to integrate many hardware
   features into the motherboard (obviating the need for circuit cards in
   expansion slots as with other brands of PC). Tandy never transferred
   its manufacturing operation to Asia; all Tandy desktop computers were
   built in the USA (this was not true of the laptop and pocket computers,
   nor peripherals).

   In 1985 the Epson corporation, a popular and respected producer of
   inexpensive dot-matrix printers and business computers (the QX-10 and
   QX-16), introduced its low-cost Epson Equity^[47] PC. Its designers
   took minor shortcuts such as few expansion slots and a lack of a socket
   for an 8087 math chip, but Epson did bundle some utility programs that
   offered decent turnkey functionality for novice users. While not a high
   performer, the Equity was a reliable and compatible design for half the
   price of a similarly configured IBM PC. Epson often promoted sales by
   bundling one of their printers with it at cost. The Equity I sold well
   enough to warrant the furtherance of the Equity line with the follow-on
   Equity II and Equity III.

   In 1986 UK home computer maker Amstrad began producing their
   PC1512^[48]^[49] PC-compatible for sale in the UK. Later they would
   market the machine in the US as the PC6400. In June 1987 an improved
   model was produced as the PC1640. These machines had fast 8086 CPUs,
   enhanced CGA graphics, and were feature-laden for their modest prices.
   They had joystick adapters built into their keyboards and shipped with
   a licensed version of the Digital Research's GEM, a GUI for the MS-DOS
   operating system. They became marginal successes in the home market.

   In 1987 longtime small computer maker Zenith introduced a low-cost PC
   they called the EaZy PC.^[50]^[51] This was positioned as an
   "appliance" computer much like the original Apple Macintosh: turnkey
   startup, built-in monochrome video monitor, and lacking expansion slots
   requiring proprietary add-ons available only from Zenith, but instead
   with the traditional MS-DOS Command-line interface. The EaZy PC used a
   turbo NEC V40 CPU (uprated 8088) which was rather slow for its time,
   but the video monitor did feature 400 pixel vertical resolution. This
   unique computer failed for the same reasons as did IBM's PCjr: poor
   performance and expandability, and a price too high for the home

   Another company that offered low-cost PCs for home use was Leading Edge
   with their Model M and Model D computers. These were configured like
   full-featured business PCs yet still could compete in the home market
   on price because Leading Edge had access to low-cost hardware from
   their Asian manufacturing partners Mitsubishi with the Model M and
   Daewoo with the Model D. The LEWP was bundled with the Model D. It was
   favorably reviewed by the computer press and sold very well.^[52]

   By the mid-80s the market for inexpensive PCs for use in the home
   market was expanding at a rate such that the two leaders in the US,
   Commodore and Atari, themselves felt compelled to enter the market with
   their own lines. They were only marginally successful compared to other
   companies that made only PCs.^[53]^[54]

   Still later prices of white box PC clone computers by various
   manufacturers became competitive with the higher-end home computers
   (see below). Throughout the 1980s costs and prices continued to be
   driven down by: advanced circuit design and manufacturing,
   multifunction expansion cards, shareware applications such as PC-Talk,
   PC-Write, and PC-File, greater hardware reliability, and more
   user-friendly software that demanded less customer support services.
   The increasing availability of faster processor and memory chips,
   inexpensive EGA and VGA video cards, sound cards, and joystick adapters
   also bolstered the viability of PC/DOS computers as alternatives to
   specially-made computers and game consoles for the home.

High performance[edit]

   From about 1985 the high end of the home computer market began to be
   dominated by "next generation" home computers using the 16-bit Motorola
   68000 chip, which enabled the greatly increased abilities of the Amiga
   and Atari ST series (in the UK the Sinclair QL was built around the
   Motorola 68008 with its external 8-bit bus). Graphics resolutions
   approximately doubled to give roughly NTSC-class resolution, and color
   palettes increased from dozens to hundreds or thousands of colors
   available. The Amiga was built with a custom chipset with dedicated
   graphics and sound coprocessors for high performance video and audio.
   The Amiga found use as a workstation for desktop video, a first for a
   standalone computer costing far less than dedicated motion-video
   processing equipment costing many thousands of dollars. Stereo sound
   became standard for the first time; the Atari ST gained popularity as
   an affordable alternative for MIDI equipment for the production of

   Clock rates on the 68000-based systems were approximately 8 MHz with
   RAM capacities of 256 kB (for the base Amiga 1000^[55]) up to 1024 kB
   (1 MB, a milestone, first seen on the Atari 1040ST). These systems used
   3.5" floppy disks from the beginning but 5.25" drives were made
   available to facilitate data exchange with IBM PC compatibles. The
   Amiga and ST both had GUIs with windowing technology. These were
   inspired by the Apple Macintosh, but at a list price of US$2,495
   (equivalent to $6,300 in 2021), the Macintosh itself was too expensive
   for most households. The Commodore Amiga in particular had true
   multitasking capability and unlike all other low-cost computers of the
   era could run multiple applications in their own windows.

   The second generation of MSX computers (MSX2) achieved the performance
   of high-performance computers using a high-speed video processor
   (Yamaha V9938) capable of handling resolutions of 512 * 424 pixels, and
   256 simultaneous colors from a palette of 512


   MSX was a standard for a home computing architecture that was intended
   and hoped to become a universal platform for home computing. It was
   conceived, engineered and marketed by Microsoft Japan with ASCII
   Corporation.^[56] Computers conforming to the MSX standard were
   produced by most all major Japanese electronics manufacturers, as well
   as two Korean ones and several others in Europe and South America. Some
   5 million units are known to have been sold in Japan alone. They sold
   in smaller numbers throughout the world. Due to the "price wars" being
   waged in the USA home computer market during the 1983-85 period, MSX
   computers were never marketed to any great extent in the USA.
   Eventually more advanced mainstream home computers and game consoles
   obsoleted the MSX machines.

   The MSX computers were built around the Zilog Z80 8-bit processor,
   assisted with dedicated video graphics and audio coprocessors supplied
   by Intel, Texas Instruments, and General Instrument. MSX computers
   received a great deal of software support from the traditional Japanese
   publishers of game software. Microsoft developed the MSX-DOS operating
   system, a version of their popular MS-DOS adapted to the architecture
   of these machines, that was also able to run CP/M software directly

Radio frequency interference[edit]

   After the first wave of game consoles and computers landed in American
   homes, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began
   receiving complaints of electromagnetic interference to television
   reception. By 1979 the FCC demanded that home computer makers submit
   samples for radio frequency interference testing. It was found that
   "first generation" home computers emitted too much radio frequency
   noise for household use. The Atari 400 and 800 were designed with heavy
   RF shielding to meet the new requirements. Between 1980 and 1982
   regulations governing RF emittance from home computers were phased
   in.^[57] Some companies appealed to the FCC to waive the requirements
   for home computers, while others (with compliant designs) objected to
   the waiver. Eventually techniques to suppress interference became

Reception and sociological impact[edit]

   See also: Microcomputer revolution

   In 1977, referring to computers used in home automation at the dawn of
   the home computer era, Digital Equipment Corporation CEO Ken Olsen is
   quoted as saying "There is no reason for any individual to have a
   computer in his home."^[59] Despite Olsen's warning, in the late 1970s
   and early 1980s, from about 1977 to 1983, it was widely predicted^[60]
   that computers would soon revolutionize many aspects of home and family
   life as they had business practices in the previous decades.^[61]
   Mothers would keep their recipe catalog in "kitchen computer" databases
   and turn to a medical database for help with child care, fathers would
   use the family's computer to manage family finances and track
   automobile maintenance. Children would use online encyclopedias^[62]
   for school work and would be avid video gamers. The computer would even
   be tasked with babysitting younger children.^[63] Home automation would
   bring about the intelligent home of the 1980s. Using Videotex, NAPLPS
   or some sort of vaguely conceptualized computer technology, television
   would gain interactivity. It would be possible to do the week's grocery
   shopping through the television.^[64] The "personalized newspaper" (to
   be displayed on the television screen) was another commonly predicted
   application.^[65] Morning coffee would be brewed automatically under
   computer control.^[66]^[67] The same household computer would control
   the home's lighting and temperature. Robots would take the garbage out,
   and be programmed to perform new tasks via the home computer.
   Electronics were expensive, so it was generally assumed that each home
   would have only one computer for the entire family to use.^[68] Home
   control would be performed in a multitasking time-sharing arrangement,
   with interfaces to the various devices it was expected to control.

     When the computer revolution was unofficially announced in the early
     1980s, all indications were that it would change the world. Experts
     predicted that within five years, every household would have a
     computer. Dad would run his business on it. Mom would store her
     recipes on it. The kids would do their homework on it. Today only
     15% of American homes have a computer - and the other 85% don't seem
     the least bit interested. There is a general feeling that the home
     computer was a fad and that there is really no practical purpose for
     a computer in the home.^[69]

   -- Commodore Magazine, September 1987

   All this was predicted to be commonplace by the end of the 1980s, but
   by 1987 Dan Gutman wrote that the predicted revolution was "in
   shambles", with only 15% of American homes owning a computer.^[69]
   Virtually every aspect that was foreseen would be delayed to later
   years or would be entirely surpassed by later technological
   developments. The home computers of the early 1980s could not
   multitask,^[70] which meant that using one as a home automation or
   entertainment appliance would require it be kept powered on at all
   times and dedicated exclusively for this use. Even if the computers
   could be used for multiple purposes simultaneously as today, other
   technical limitations predominated; memory capacities were too small to
   hold entire encyclopedias or databases of financial records;^[71]
   floppy disk-based storage was inadequate in both capacity and speed for
   multimedia work;^[72] and the home computers' graphics chips could only
   display blocky, unrealistic images and blurry, jagged text that would
   be difficult to read a newspaper from.^[73] Although CD-ROM technology
   was introduced in 1985 with much promise for its future use, the drives
   were prohibitively expensive and only interfaced with IBM PCs and

   The Boston Phoenix stated in 1983 that "people are catching on to the
   fact that 'applications' like balancing your checkbook and filing
   kitchen recipes are actually faster and easier to do with a pocket
   calculator and a box of index cards".^[77] inCider observed that
   "companies cannot live by dilettantes alone".^[78] Gutman wrote that
   when the first computer boom ended in 1984, "Suddenly, everybody was
   saying that the home computer was a fad, just another hula hoop".^[79]
   Robert Lydon, publisher of Personal Computing, stated in 1985 that the
   home market "never really existed. It was a fad. Just about everyone
   who was going to buy a computer for their home has done it", and
   predicted that Apple would cease to exist within two years.^[80]

   A backlash set in; computer users were "geeks", "nerds" or worse,
   "hackers". The video game crash of 1983 soured many on home computer
   technology as users saw large investments in 'the technology of the
   future' turn into dead-ends when manufacturers pulled out of the market
   or went out of business. The computers that were bought for use in the
   family room were either forgotten in closets or relegated to basements
   and children's bedrooms to be used exclusively for games and the
   occasional book report. Home computers of the 1980s have been called "a
   technology in search of a use".^[81] In 1984 Tandy executive Steve
   Leininger, designer of the TRS-80 Model I, admitted that "As an
   industry we haven't found any compelling reason to buy a computer for
   the home" other than for word processing.^[82] A 1985 study found that,
   during a typical week, 40% of adult computer owners did not use their
   computers at all. Usage rates among children were higher, with
   households reporting that only 16-20% of children aged 6--17 did not
   use the computer during a typical week.^[83]

   It would take another 10 years for technology to mature, for the
   graphical user interface to make the computer approachable for
   non-technical users, and for the World Wide Web to provide a compelling
   reason for most people to want a computer in their homes. Separate 1998
   studies found that 75% of Americans with Internet access accessed
   primarily from home and that not having Internet access at home
   inhibited Internet use.^[83] Predicted aspects of the revolution were
   left by the wayside or modified in the face of an emerging reality. The
   cost of electronics dropped precipitously and today many families have
   a computer for each family member, although shared desktop machines are
   still common. Encyclopedias, recipe catalogs and medical databases are
   kept online and accessed over the World Wide Web - not stored locally
   on floppy disks or CD-ROM. TV has yet to gain substantial
   interactivity; instead, the web has evolved alongside television,
   giving rise to the second screen concept. The HTPC and services like
   Netflix, Google TV or Apple TV, along with internet video sites such as
   YouTube and Hulu, may one day replace traditional broadcast and cable
   television.^[84] Our coffee may be brewed automatically every morning,
   but the computer is a simple one embedded in the coffee maker, not
   under external control. As of 2008, robots are just beginning to make
   an impact in the home, with Roomba and Aibo leading the charge.

   This delay wasn't out of keeping with other technologies newly
   introduced to an unprepared public. Early motorists were widely derided
   with the cry of "Get a horse!"^[85] until the automobile was accepted.
   Television languished in research labs for decades before regular
   public broadcasts began. In an example of changing applications for
   technology, before the invention of radio, the telephone was used to
   distribute opera and news reports, whose subscribers were denounced as
   "illiterate, blind, bedridden and incurably lazy people".^[86]
   Likewise, the acceptance of computers into daily life today is a
   product of continuing refinement of both technology and perception.

Use in the 21st century[edit]

   Retrocomputing is the use of vintage hardware, possibly performing
   modern tasks such as surfing the web and email. As programming
   techniques evolved and these systems were well-understood after decades
   of use, it became possible to write software giving home computers
   capabilities undreamed of by their designers. The Contiki OS implements
   a GUI and TCP/IP stack on the Apple II, Commodore 8-bit and Atari ST
   (16-bit) platforms, allowing these home computers to function as both
   internet clients and servers.^[87]

   The Commodore 64 has been repackaged as the C-One and C64 Direct-to-TV,
   both designed by Jeri Ellsworth with modern enhancements.^[88]

   Throughout the 1990s and 1st decade of the 21st century, many home
   computer systems were available inexpensively at garage sales and on
   eBay. Many enthusiasts started to collect home computers, with older
   and rarer systems being much sought after. Sometimes the collections
   turned into a virtual museum presented on web sites.^[89]

   As their often-inexpensively manufactured hardware ages and the supply
   of replacement parts dwindles, it has become popular among
   enthusiasts^[90] to emulate these machines, recreating their software
   environments^[91] on modern computers. One of the more well-known
   emulators is the Multi Emulator Super System (MESS) which can emulate
   most of the better-known home computers. A more or less complete list
   of home computer emulators can be found in the List of computer system
   emulators article. Games for many 8 and 16 bit home computers became
   available for the Wii Virtual Console.

Notable home computers[edit]

   Further information on home computer models: List of home computers
   See also: Market share of personal computer vendors
   The 1977 Apple II with two Disk II disk drives and an Apple monitor

   The time line below describes many of the most popular or significant
   home computers of the late 1970s and of the 1980s.

   The most popular home computers in the USA up to 1985 were: the TRS-80
   (1977), various models of the Apple II family (first introduced in
   1977), the Atari 400/800 (1979) along with its follow up models the
   800XL and 130XE, and the Commodore VIC-20 (1980) and the Commodore 64
   (1982). The VIC was the first computer of any type to sell over one
   million units, and the 64 is still the highest-selling single model of
   personal computer ever, with over 17 million produced before production
   stopped in 1994 - a 12-year run with only minor changes.^[92] At one
   point in 1983 Commodore was selling as many 64s as the rest of the
   industry's computers combined.^[77]

   The British market was different, as relatively high prices and lower
   disposable incomes reduced the appeal of most American products. New
   Scientist stated in 1977 that "the price of an American kit in dollars
   rapidly translates into the same figure in pounds sterling by the time
   it has reached the shores of Britain".^[93] The Commodore 64 was also
   popular, but a BYTE columnist stated in 1985:^[94]

     It's not easy for a U.K. citizen to write about home computers for
     an American magazine. We use the term to refer to an altogether
     different object on our side of the Atlantic.

     In the U.S.A., an Apple II is a home computer; the IBM PC in its
     smaller configurations is a home computer; the Macintosh is a home
     computer. Home computers use floppy disks for mass storage and
     perform useful functions like word processing and income tax
     preparation as well as playing games.

     In the U.K., those computers would be considered rather expensive as
     business computers, let alone for home use. Home computers typically
     cost less than -L-200 (about $250) and use cassette tape recorders
     for mass storage. We have various manufacturers of our own, some
     unheard of in the U.S.A. ... Even when we do have machines in common
     (the Commodore 64), I suspect that the vast majority of U.S. users
     buy the disk drive, while the majority of U.K. users have only the
     cassette deck.

   Many of the British-made systems like Sinclair's ZX81 and Spectrum, and
   later the Amstrad/Schneider CPC were much more widely used in Europe
   than US systems. A few low-cost British Sinclair models were sold in
   the US by Timex Corporation as the Timex Sinclair 1000 and the
   ill-fated Timex Sinclair 2068, but neither established a strong
   following. The only transatlantic success was the Commodore 64, which
   competed favorably price-wise with the British systems, and was the
   most popular system in Europe as in the USA.^[95]^[96]

   Until the introduction of the IBM PC in 1981, computers such as the
   Apple II and TRS 80 also found considerable use in office
   work.^[97]^[98] In 1983 IBM introduced the PCjr in an attempt to
   continue their business computer success in the home computer market,
   but incompatibilities between it and the standard PC kept users
   away.^[99]^[100] Assisted by a large public domain software library and
   promotional offers from Commodore, the PET had a sizable presence in
   the North American education market until that segment was largely
   ceded to the Apple II as Commodore focused on the C-64's success in the
   mass retail market.^[101]


   Three microcomputers were the prototypes for what would later become
   the home computer market segment; but when introduced they sold as much
   to hobbyists and small businesses as to the home.
     * June 1977: Apple II (North America), color graphics, eight
       expansion slots; one of the first computers to use a
       typewriter-like plastic case design.^[102]
     * August 1977: Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 (N. Am.), first home computer
       for less than US$600, used a dedicated monitor for US Federal
       Communications Commission (FCC) rules compliance.^[103]
     * October 1977: Commodore PET (N. Am.), first all-in-one computer:
       keyboard/screen/tape storage built into stamped sheet metal
     * In 1977 Compucolor II, although shipments did not start until the
       next year. The Compucolor II was smaller, less expensive than first
       model which was an upgrade kit for the company's color computer
       terminal, turning the Intecolor 8001 into the Compucolor 8001 and
       used the newly introduced 5.25-inch floppy disks instead of the
       former 8-inch models.^[105]

   The following computers also introduced significant advancements to the
   home computer segment:
     * 1979: TI-99/4, first home computer with a 16-bit processor and
       first to add sprite graphics
     * 1979: Atari 400/800 (N. Am.), first computer with custom chip set
       and programmable video chip and built-in audio output


   No computer has sold more units than the Commodore 64.^[106]

   The East German Robotron KC 85/1 was virtually not available for sale
   due to huge demand by industrial, educational, and military

     * January 1980: Sinclair ZX80, available in the United Kingdom for
       less than a hundred pounds
     * 1980: Commodore VIC-20 (N. Am.), under US$300; first computer of
       any kind to pass one million sold.
     * 1980: TRS-80 Color Computer (N. Am.), Motorola 6809, optional OS-9
       multi-user multi-tasking.
     * July 1980: TRS-80 Model III (N. Am.), essentially a TRS-80 Model I
       repackaged in an all-in-one cabinet, to comply with FCC regulations
       for radiofrequency interference, to eliminate cable clutter, and
       use only one electrical outlet. Some enhancements like extended
       character set, repeating keys, and real time clock.
     * June 1981: TI-99/4A, based on the less successful TI-99/4.
     * 1981: Sinclair ZX81 (Europe), -L-49.95 in kit form; -L-69.95
       pre-built, released as Timex Sinclair 1000 in US in 1982.
     * 1981: BBC Micro (Europe), premier educational computer in the UK
       for a decade; advanced BBC BASIC with integrated 6502 machine code
       assembler, and a large number of I/O ports, ~ 1.5 million sold.
     * April 1982: Sinclair ZX Spectrum (Europe), best-selling British
       home computer; catalysed the UK software industry, widely cloned by
       the Soviet Union.
     * June 1982: MicroBee (Australia), initially as a kit, then as a
       finished unit.
     * August 1982: Dragon 32 (UK) became, for a short time, the
       best-selling home micro in the United Kingdom.
     * August 1982: Commodore 64 (N. Am.), custom graphic & synthesizer
       chipset, best-selling computer model of all time: ~ 17 million
     * Jan. 1983: Apple IIe, Apple II enhanced. Reduced component count
       and production costs enabled high-volume production, until 1993.
     * April 1983: TRS-80 Model 4, major upgrade compatible with Model
       III. Ran industry-standard CP/M, updated TRSDOS 6, 4 MHz speed,
       128KB RAM max, 80x24 screen, 640x240 high-res option. In September
       the transportable "luggable" Model 4P unveiled.
     * 1983: Acorn Electron A stripped down 'sibling' of the BBC
       microcomputer with limited functionality. The Electron recovered
       from a slow start to become one of the more popular home computers
       of that era in the UK.
     * 1983: Sanyo PHC-25, with 16k of RAM, one of a number of Sanyo
     * 1983: Coleco Adam, one of the few home computers to be sold only as
       a complete system with storage device and printer; cousin to the
       ColecoVision game console.
     * 1983: MSX (Japan, Korea, the Arab League, Europe, N+S. Am., USSR),
       a computer 'reference design' by ASCII and Microsoft, produced by
       several companies: ~ 5 million sold in Japan.
     * 1983: VTech Laser 200, entry level computer aimed at being the
       cheapest on market, also sold as Salora Fellow, Texet TX8000 & Dick
       Smith VZ 200.
     * 1983: Oric 1 and Oric Atmos, a home computer equipped with a full
       travel keyboard and an extended version of Microsoft BASIC in ROM.
     * January 1984: The Apple Macintosh is introduced, providing many
       consumers their first look at a graphical user interface, which
       would eventually replace the home computer as it was known.
     * April 1984: Apple IIc, Apple II compact. No expansion slots, and
       built-in ports for pseudo-plug and play ease of use. The Apple II
       most geared to home use, to complement the Apple IIe's dominant
       education market share.
     * March 1984: IBM PCjr, designed, priced and marketed as a home
       computer for kids and teens but purchased mostly by business
       customers who wanted an inexpensive IBM compatible PC.
     * 1984: Tiki 100 (Norway), Zilog Z80-based home/educational computer
       made by Tiki Data.
     * June 1984: Amstrad/Schneider CPC
     * 1985: Amstrad/Schneider PCW
     * 1985: TRS-80 Model 4D: updated Model 4 with double-sided drives and
       Deskmate productivity suite.
     * 1985: Elektronika BK-0010, one of the first 16-bit home computers;
       made in USSR.
     * 1985: Robotron KC 85/1 (Europe), one of the few 8-bit
       general-purpose computers produced in East Germany. As the KC line
       of computers, with the exception of the KC compact, was not
       available for sale to the general public due to the strict
       prioritization of 'societal users' over consumers, they are not
       genuine 'home computers'.
     * 1985: Atari ST (N. Am.), first with a graphical user interface
       (GEM) for less than US$1000; first with built-in MIDI interface;
       also 1 MB RAM and 16-bit Motorola 68000 processor for under
     * 1985: MSX2, the second generation of MSX Computers is launched
       worldwide. They achieved the performance of high-performance
       computers using a high-speed video processor (Yamaha V9938) capable
       of handling resolutions of 512x424 pixels, and 256 simultaneous
       colors from a palette of 512
     * June 1985: Commodore 128 (N. Am.) Final, most advanced 8-bit
       Commodore, retained full C64 compatibility while adding CP/M in a
       complex multi-mode architecture
     * July 1985: Commodore Amiga 1000 (N. Am.), custom chip set for
       graphics and digital audio; multitasking OS with both GUI and CLI
       interfaces; 16-bit Motorola 68000 processor. Initially designed as
       a game console but repositioned as a home computer.^[107]
     * 1986: Apple IIGS, Fifth and final model in the Apple II series,
       with greatly enhanced graphics and sound abilities. Used a 16-bit
       65C816 CPU, the same as used in the Super Nintendo Entertainment
     * June 1987: Acorn Archimedes (Europe), launched with an 8 MHz 32-bit
       ARM2 microprocessor, with between 512 KB and 4 MB of RAM, and an
       optional 20 or 40 MB hard drive.
     * October 1987: Commodore Amiga 500 (N. Am.), Amiga 1000 repackaged
       into a C64-like housing with keyboard and motherboard in the same
       enclosure, along with a 3.5" floppy disk drive. Introduced at the
       same time as the more expandable Amiga 2000.
     * 1988 - The MSX2+ is launched in Japan. It is able to show more than
       19,000 simultaneous colors on screen thanks to hardware-based
       graphic compression.
     * 1989: SAM Coupe (Europe), based on 6 MHz Z80 microprocessor;
       marketed as a logical upgrade from the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.


     * December 1991: The MSX TurboR is launched in Japan only. This is
       the last generation of MSX computers that was put to market by a
       household electronic brand. It is also the first MSX based on a 16
       bits CPU: The Ascii R800 processor.
     * 1992: Atari Falcon (N. Am.), the final home computer from Atari, it
       shipped with a digital signal processor.
     * October 1992: Amiga 1200 (N. Am.), the final home computer from
       Commodore, it sold well in Europe.

See also[edit]

     * Educational toy
     * Computer magazines
     * History of computing hardware (1960s-present)
     * History of personal computers
     * Homebuilt computer
     * Honeywell 316 a "home computer" from 1969
     * Raspberry Pi
     * List of home computers
     * List of home computers by category
     * List of home computers by video hardware
     * List of video game consoles
     * Influence of the IBM PC on the personal computer market
     * Microprocessor development board and List of early microcomputers,
       first microprocessor based systems used by hobbyists
     * Personal computer
     * Pirates of Silicon Valley - docu-fiction focused on Apple and
       Microsoft evolution
     * Triumph of the Nerds
     * Video Display Controller, chips that were used to create the video
       graphics of many early home computers


    1. ^ "Most Important Companies". Byte. September 1995. Archived from
       the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
    2. ^ "IBM PC turns 25". CNN. "Several popular home computers existed
       before the 1981 IBM PC launch. But the regimented business world
       considered Apple, Commodore, and Radio Shack's Tandy products
    3. ^ Video of old TV Ad for Atari Home computers from YouTube Archived
       January 30, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
    4. ^ "Home computer ads". Wotsit.thingy.com. 2001-02-05. Retrieved
    5. ^ "The Old Computer - Retro TV Commercials,Old Computer
       Commercials,computer adverts". www.theoldcomputer.com.
    6. ^ "May 1982 VIC-20 ad".
    7. ^ "Franklin ACE2000 ad".
    8. ^ "The Golden Age of Basic". "Let's not kid ourselves in a haze of
       nostalgia--there are very good reasons why things like Scratch and
       Processing were created, the same reasons why many, if not most, of
       those 8-bit machines wound up being used solely to play games.
       Tapping out Basic programs often meant a lot of effort with nothing
       to show for it other than that Great Sphinx of computer messages:
       "SYNTAX ERROR.""
    9. ^ "Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made
       Computers Personal".
   10. ^ "CNN.com readers recall the life-changing Commodore 64". CNN.
       Retrieved 22 May 2016.
   11. ^ Jeremy Reimer (December 2005). "Personal Computer Market Share:
       1975-2004". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on June 6,
       2012. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
   12. ^ David Brin (14 September 2006). "Why Johnny can't code".
       Retrieved 2013-04-09.
   13. ^ Spicer, Dag (2000-08-12). "Dag Spier,If You Can't Stand the
       Coding, Stay Out of the Kitchen, Dr. Dobb's Journal, August 12,
       2000". Drdobbs.com. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
   14. ^ "James Tomayko "Anecdotes: Electronic Computer for Home
       Operation, The First Home Computer"" (PDF). Archived from the
       original (PDF) on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
   15. ^ [1] Paul Atkinson, The Curious Case of the Kitchen Computer:
       Products and Non-Products in Design History, from Journal of Design
       History, Vol. 23 No.2 doi:10.1093.jdh/epq010
   16. ^ "Ed Roberts Interview". Retrieved 22 May 2016.
   17. ^ Texas Instruments TI-99/4 computer: At the start, the TI99/4
       could not offer an RF-modulator certified by United States Federal
       Communications Commission (FCC), and had to use an expensive
       modified TV instead.
   18. ^ Markoff, John (June 7, 1982). "Personal computers are selling
       fast on 'the strip'". InfoWorld. p. 27.
   19. ^ Blundell, Gregory S. (January 1983). "Personal Computers in the
       Eighties". BYTE. p. 166. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
   20. ^ "Dictionary - Definition of Microsoft Basic". Archived from the
       original on 2012-09-08.
   21. ^ "C64 Type-In Books". Archived from the original on 2012-10-21.
   22. ^ "10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10".
   23. ^ "SYSTEMS RELEASED IN ~ 1982 ~".
   24. ^ "about the history of the MSX standard". Msx.gnu-linux.net.
       Retrieved 2013-04-09.
   25. ^ "VisiCalc and the Rise of the Apple II". lowendmac.com. 25
       September 2006. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
   26. ^ "PBS Triumph of the Nerds Television Program Transcripts: Part
       III". PBS (Public Broadcasting System). Retrieved 2007-02-08.
   27. ^ Green, Wayne (July 1980). "Publisher's Remarks". Kilobaud. p. 6.
       Retrieved 23 June 2014.
   28. ^ Ferrell, Keith (July 1988). "Windows on John Roach". Compute!.
       pp. 88-89. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
   29. ^ "IBM PCjr leads the way for industry". The Pantagraph. The
       Washington Post. 1983-11-06. pp. E6. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
   30. ^ Sanger, David E. (1984-05-17). "I.B.M.'S PROBLEMS WITH JUNIOR".
       The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
   31. ^ ^a ^b Halfhill, Tom R. (December 1986). "The MS-DOS Invasion /
       IBM Compatibles Are Coming Home". Compute!. p. 32. Retrieved 9
       November 2013.
   32. ^ "Fusion, Transfusion or Confusion / Future Directions In Computer
       Entertainment". Computer Gaming World. December 1990. p. 26.
       Retrieved 16 November 2013.
   33. ^ Stanton, Jeffrey; Wells, Robert P.; Rochowansky, Sandra; Mellid,
       Michael, eds. (1984). The Addison-Wesley Book of Atari Software.
       Addison-Wesley. p. 210. ISBN 0-201-16454-X.
   34. ^ Harris, Neil (1987-05-12). "Re: Is Atari killing the 8 bit?".
       Newsgroup: comp.sys.atari.8bit. Usenet: 730@atari.UUCP. Retrieved
       27 January 2015.
   35. ^ Alberts, Gerard; Oldenziel, Ruth (3 September 2014). Hacking
       Europe: From Computer Cultures to Demoscenes. ISBN 9781447154938.
   36. ^ The TI99/4 was unique in using a 16 bit processor from
       Retrogaming Times, Issue 42, February 20, 2001
   37. ^ "Early Home Computers".
   38. ^ "TI vs Tomy Tutor".
   39. ^ "Telecomputing Today, Compute Sep. 1983". Archived from the
       original on 2015-03-02. Retrieved 2014-05-08. "This process may
       sound familiar. That's because it's very similar to the way the
       computer saves programs and other data on the cassette recorder."
   40. ^ Hall, Douglas V. (1983). Microprocessors and Digital Systems
       (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill. pp. 153-154. ISBN 0-07-025552-0.
   41. ^ List of TI99/4 cartridges, mostly games from OldComputers.net
   42. ^ Halfhill, Tom. "Compute! Magazine, December 1986, The MS-DOS
       Invasion, IBM Compatibles Are Coming Home, page 32".
       atarimagazines.com. ABC Publishing. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
   43. ^ "Radio Shack Computer Catalog RSC-17, page 9". radioshackcatalogs
       dot com. Tandy/Radio Shack. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
   44. ^ "Radio Shack Computer Catalog RSC-19, page 9". radioshackcatalogs
       dot com. Tandy/Radio Shack. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
   45. ^ "Radio Shack Computer Catalog RSC-22, page 14".
       radioshackcatalogs dot com. Tandy/Radio Shack. Retrieved May 17,
   46. ^ "Radio Shack Computer Catalog RSC-22, page 15".
       radioshackcatalogs dot com. Tandy/Radio Shack. Retrieved May 17,
   47. ^ "Epson Equity 1e". ancientelectronics. justinwt. 20 December
       2014. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
   48. ^ "PC1512 and the Fall of Amstrad". I Programmer. Mike James
       (website Editor). Retrieved May 17, 2017.
   49. ^ "The Amstrad PC-1512 : The Affordable IBM PC Compatible for
       Europe". Nerdly Pleasures. Great Hierophant. 11 April 2016.
       Retrieved May 17, 2017.
   50. ^ "Infoworld, September 28, 1987, page 76". books.google.com/books.
       International Data Group. 28 September 1987. Retrieved May 17,
   51. ^ "Zenith EaZy PC". oldcomputers.net. Steven Stengel. Retrieved May
       17, 2017.
   52. ^ Rosch, Winn (15 October 1985). "Cost-Conscious Computing".
       books.google.com/books. PC Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
   53. ^ "Commodore PC compatible systems". old-computers dot com. Thierry
       Schembri and Olivier Boisseau. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
   54. ^ "Atari PCs". old-computers dot com. Thierry Schembri and Olivier
       Boisseau. Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved May
       17, 2017.
   55. ^ Purcaru, Bogdan Ion (13 March 2014). "Games vs. Hardware. The
       History of PC video games: The 80's".
   56. ^ "MSX: The Japanese are coming! The Japanese are coming!". The
       Register. June 27, 2013.
   57. ^ "Introduction to EMC".
   58. ^ TRS-80 the "Trash-80" from PC-History.org
   59. ^ David Mikkelson (27 September 2007). "Ken Olsen Computer Quote".
       snopes. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
   60. ^ The Computer Revolution from eNotes.com
   61. ^ The computer revolution Archived 2015-03-17 at the Wayback
       Machine from The Eighties Club
   62. ^ "Commodore.ca - History - 1983 Telecomputing, Vic Modem".
       Archived from the original on 17 May 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
   63. ^ "Commodore 64 Programmers Reference Guide" (PDF). "The Commodore
       64 Home Babysitter cartridge can keep your youngest child occupied
       for hours and teach alphabet/keyboard recognition at the same time.
       It also teaches special learning concepts and relationships."
   64. ^ "Online Shopping in the 1980s" (PDF). IEEE Annals of the History
       of Computing. 33 (4): 57-61. October-December 2011. ISSN 1058-6180.
       Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-11-18. Retrieved
   65. ^ "How Newspapers Tried to Invent the Web". 6 January 2009.
   66. ^ Heckman, Davin (13 March 2008). A Small World: Smart Houses and
       the Dream of the Perfect Day. ISBN 978-0822388845.
   67. ^ "Livable New York Resource Manual: SMART HOMES (Home Automation)"
   68. ^ "A 1980s Home Computer Family Celebration". 23 November 2009.
   69. ^ ^a ^b Gutman, Dan (September 1987). "What happened to the
       computer revolution?". Commodore Magazine. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
   70. ^ "What is UNIX".
   71. ^ "Data Powers of Ten". How Much Information?. berkeley.edu. 2000.
   73. ^ "Reading from paper versus screens: a critical review of the
       empirical literature".
   74. ^ InfoWorld Jan 20,1986. 20 January 1986.
   75. ^ "IBM Personal Computing: The CD-ROMs Are Coming, Compute!
       magazine Feb. 1987". February 1987.
   76. ^ "New Technologies: The Converging Digital Universe, Compute!
       magazine, April 1986". April 1986. "Although the initial purchase
       price of $1495 may keep initial sales out of the home market in
       volume, the price for CD-ROM technology is expected to drop quickly
       over the next couple of years."
   77. ^ ^a ^b Mitchell, Peter W. (1983-09-06). "A summer-CES report".
       Boston Phoenix. p. 4. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
   78. ^ Whitmore, Sam (November 1983). "Fermentations". inCider. p. 10.
       Retrieved 7 January 2015.
   79. ^ Gutman, Dan (December 1987). "The Fall And Rise Of Computer
       Games". Compute!'s Apple Applications. p. 64. Retrieved 18 August
   80. ^ Robbeloth, DeWitt (Oct-Nov 1985). "Whither Apple?". II Computing.
       p. 8. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
   81. ^ Swalwell, Melanie (2008). Brennan, Stella; Ballard, Su (eds.).
       "1980s Home Coding: The art of amateur programming". Aotearoa
       Digital Arts Reader. Auckland: 193-201.
   82. ^ Needle, David (1984-07-16). "Q&A: Steve Leininger". InfoWorld.
       p. 66. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
   83. ^ ^a ^b "National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources
       Studies The Application and Implications of Information
       Technologies in the Home: Where are the Data and What Do They Say?
       Arlington, VA (NSF 01-313) [March 2001]".
   84. ^ "Why TV Lost". "About twenty years ago people noticed computers
       and TV were on a collision course and started to speculate about
       what they'd produce when they converged. We now know the answer:
   85. ^ Horseless Classrooms from the Hawaii Education & Research Network
       Archived June 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
   86. ^ Clement Ader from Beb's Old Phones
   87. ^ "Surf the Web on your Commodore 64". 26 September 2008.
   88. ^ "Retro-Computing with FPGAs - Slashdot". Retrieved 22 May 2016.
   89. ^ "HCM: Links".
   90. ^ Reviving Old Computer Games from xtrazone.com Archived October
       25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
   91. ^ "gametap.com Site Overview". Archived from the original on 25
       October 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
   92. ^ "number of C64s sold". Gamasutra.com. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
   93. ^ Valery, Nicholas (1977-05-19). "Spare a byte for the family". New
       Scientist. pp. 405-406. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
   94. ^ Pountain, Dick (January 1985). "The Amstrad CPC 464". BYTE.
       p. 401. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
   95. ^ "Slashdot - 25th Anniversary of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum". 12
       October 2008. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008.
   96. ^ Format Wars: The Tech that should have Won from
   97. ^ Tandy TRS-80 catalog listing many business uses (PDF) Archived
       May 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
   98. ^ ""VisiCalc was first released for the Apple II, which quickly
       became an invaluable tool for businesspeople - at least until IBM
       moved into the "personal computing" market in 1981."".
       Lowendmac.com. 25 September 2006. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
   99. ^ "IBM PCjr".
   100. ^ "IBM PCjr".
   101. ^ "Commodore Educational brochure". Commodore.ca. Retrieved
   102. ^ Long, Tony (June 5, 2007). "June 5, 1977: From a Little Apple a
       Mighty Industry Grows". Wired. Archived from the original on May
       28, 2009. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
   103. ^ "Radio Shack Retails Z80-Based System". Computerworld. IDG
       Enterprise. 11 (34): 37. August 22, 1977. ISSN 0010-4841.
   104. ^ What's New (February 1978), "Commodore Ships First PET
       Computers", BYTE, Byte Publications, vol. 3, no. 2, p. 190
       Commodore press release. "The PET computer made its debut recently
       as the first 100 units were shipped to waiting customers in
       mid-October 1977."
   105. ^ ComputerCloset.org - Information about the Compucolor II
   106. ^ Grandiose Price for a Modest PC from Wired
   107. ^ "Amiga: The Computer That Wouldn't Die". March 2001. "In
       response to its designers' ambitions and a changing marketplace, it
       evolved from a video game console into a home computer before it
       even reached the prototype stage."

External links[edit]

   Wikimedia Commons has media related to Home computers.

     * Rune's PC Museum
     * Home of the home computer
     * Collection of old analog and digital computers at Old Computer
     * Computer History Museum - An online museum of home computing and
     * HCM - Home Computer Museum
     * "Total share: 30 years of personal computer market share figures" -
       From Ars Technica
     * article on computing in the 1980s Archived 2015-03-17 at the
       Wayback Machine
     * Google Books link to A history of the personal computer: the people
       and the technology by Roy A. Allan
     * Home computer simulation written in Python

     * v
     * t
     * e

   Computer sizes

   Classes of computers


     * Appliances:
          + Smart speaker
          + Smart TV
          + Interactive kiosk
          + Arcade cabinet
          + Home console
               o Microconsole
          + Thin client/computer terminal

     * Computers:
          + By use:
               o Home
                    # Home server
               o Workstation
               o Personal supercomputer
          + By size:
               o Portable
               o Small form factor
                    # Nettop
                    # Plug
               o Desktop
               o Deskside
               o All-in-One
                    # Tabletop

     * Desktop replacement
     * 2-in-1
     * Subnotebook
          + Netbook
          + Smartbook
          + Ultrabook
     * Ultra-mobile PC

     * Ultra-mobile PC
     * 2-in-1
     * Handheld game console
     * Phablet
     * Tabletop
     * E-reader

     * Handheld PC
          + Palmtop PC
          + Pocket computer
          + Personal digital assistant
          + Electronic organizer
     * Mobile phone
          + Camera Phone
          + Feature phone
          + Smartphone
               o Rugged Phone
          + Phablet
     * Portable media player
     * E-reader
     * Handheld game console
     * Portable/Mobile data terminal

     * Scientific
     * Programmable
     * Graphing

     * Digital wristwatch
          + Calculator watch
          + Smartwatch
          + Sportwatch
          + Smartband
     * Smartglasses
     * Smart ring


     * Minicomputer
     * Supermini


     * Super
     * Mainframe
     * Minisuper


     * Microcontroller
     * Nanocomputer
     * Single-board computer
     * Smartdust
     * Wireless sensor network
     * Server (size independent)

     *  Category
     *  Portal

   Retrieved from

     * Computer-related introductions in 1977
     * 1980s fads and trends
     * Home computers

   Hidden categories:
     * Webarchive template wayback links
     * Articles with short description
     * Short description matches Wikidata
     * Pages incorrectly using the Blockquote template
     * Commons category link is on Wikidata

Navigation menu

Personal tools

     * Not logged in
     * Talk
     * Contributions
     * Create account
     * Log in


     * Article
     * Talk

   [ ] English


     * Read
     * Edit
     * View history

   [ ] More


   ____________________ Search Go


     * Main page
     * Contents
     * Current events
     * Random article
     * About Wikipedia
     * Contact us
     * Donate


     * Help
     * Learn to edit
     * Community portal
     * Recent changes
     * Upload file


     * What links here
     * Related changes
     * Upload file
     * Special pages
     * Permanent link
     * Page information
     * Cite this page
     * Wikidata item


     * Download as PDF
     * Printable version

In other projects

     * Wikimedia Commons


     * Alemannisch
     * a+l+e+r+b+y+tm
     * Aragones
     * Belaruskaya
     * Catal`a
     * Cestina
     * Dansk
     * Deutsch
     * Eesti
     * Espanol
     * f+a+r+s+
     * Franc,ais
     * Hrvatski
     * Interlingua
     * Islenska
     * Italiano
     * Lietuviu
     * Lombard
     * Bahasa Melayu
     * Nederlands
     * Norsk bokmaal
     * Norsk nynorsk
     * Polski
     * Portugues
     * Russkij
     * Simple English
     * Slovencina
     * Slovenscina
     * Srpski / srpski
     * Srpskohrvatski / srpskohrvatski
     * Suomi
     * Svenska
     * Tuerkc,e
     * Ukrayins'ka
     * a+r+d+w+
     * Tie>'ng Vie>-.t

   Edit links

     * This page was last edited on 26 September 2022, at 21:23 (UTC).
     * Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
       License 3.0; additional terms may apply. By using this site, you
       agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia(R) is a
       registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a
       non-profit organization.

     * Privacy policy
     * About Wikipedia
     * Disclaimers
     * Contact Wikipedia
     * Mobile view
     * Developers
     * Statistics
     * Cookie statement

     * Wikimedia Foundation
     * Powered by MediaWiki
Saved from web.archive.org, with Lynx.
Main page
© 2022 Matei. No cookies®