Gadgets and More
Gadgets and More

TRS Computer

So in 1977, the Tandy Corporation came out with the Home Computer. It was released on August 3, 1977. That was 42 years ago if anyone is counting. By the time 1979, came around they had sold 100,000 units.

Tandy Corporation

We won’t get into much here, but they Tandy Corporation owns Radio Shack and this where they pushed the TRS-80 starting in 1977. The TRS-80 was the earliest mass-produced home computer.

TRS-80 Micro Computer

The name TRS-80 is named for the following: Tandy/Radio Shack Z-80 microprocessor. What a good name right. This computer had the following:

  •  Qwerty Keyboard, that is a full keyboard
  • Zilog Z80 processor
  •  4 KB DRAM
    •  The other computers shipped with 1 KB Ram
  •  64 standard character video monitor
  •  Can be expanded up to 48 KB Ram in 16 KB
  •  Floppy disk drives or hard drive

In 1979 the TRS-80 had the largest selection of software out there and it was outselling the Apple II like crazy

Some History

The Tandy computer had upwards of about 3,000 stores, in 1977, but they are bankrupt in 2019. There were 11 million customers that might buy a new computer, But what the customers who brought a $30 item, might not want to pay much more than that for a computer. Due to what happened over at Sears with Cartrivision. Some of the executives didn’t want to even entertain the idea, saying “Don’t waste my time — We can’t sell computers”. The CB radio was about 20% of sales at Radio Shack, but that declined.

When testing the computer for the head of the Tandy Corporation. When they input his salary of $150,000, well that is what they typed, it crashed. LOL right. So they, French and Leininger, added the for floating-point math to the Tiny Basic to prevent this from happening ever again.

When it was launched in 1977, Tandy had leaked this to the news right after the demonstration. They asked to make 3,500 computers so that if nothing sold at least it would have a computer in all the Radio Shacks to do inventory on.

There was a press conference for the TRS-80, but due to some terrorist bombing elsewhere in the city. But in Boston, it was much better welcomed.

Radio Shack

In 1978, they promoted themselves as “The Biggest name in Little Computers” When these computers were released, they had the first units, which was unseen, sold and was delivered in November of 1977. This line of computers had just won the hobbyists, home users, and small business popularity.


Cassette tape drive, yea this was a thing, and they wrote at 250 baud (about 30 bytes per second) the Level II doubled it.

Floppy disks

had a total of 1.2 MB of space. Hold on there we are talking 1.2 MB of space, holy cow.

External hard drives which held a total of 5 MB of space. That is just an insane amount of space.

The printer

was a quick printer, and that had an electrostatic rotary printer that would scan the video memory thru the bus connector. Wow, this was an old school setup.


The basic programming language was 4 KB of ROM. It also consisted of tiny basic software, but in 1978, it licensed software from Microsoft. I could go on and on, but I won’t

My opinion

This was a major game changer and it went along with Apple and Commodore computers. It was something that drove the personal computer to be what it is today. This was a major plus for Radio Shack and it wasn’t a $30 dollar item. This ushered in other bigger products. Yes, the software, hardware, and other items might have been limited, as we look back on it. But those sizes I was making fun of earlier was what they could do at that time.

This was an awesome gadget that ushered in a new course.


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