We're so RETRO it hurts the eyes

Tuesday, 28-Nov-2023 12:21:24 EST

Welcome to the world of DOS based Tandy's!

A VERY brief history

In 1977, when Tandy/Radio Shack introduced the first TRS-80 computer (the Model I), nobody could have predicted how fast the computer industry would not only take off, but transcend borders and become a global phenomenon. Until 1983, the computer industry consisted of Radio Shack, Apple, Atari, Commodore, and a couple of other companies, well known to nerds, but very few others (IMSAI, for example). Rumor has it, that not only did the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I hold onto the top of the market for several years in hardware, but in software as well. Never one to rest on their laurels, Radio Shack also released the TRS-80 Color Computer (affectionately called CoCo) and the successor to the Model I, the Model III in 1980.

In 1981, International Business Machines (IBM) was prepped to blow the roof off of the computer industry, with the IBM PC, model 5150 (ironically later a Van Halen album title, but I digress). The 'PC' as it later became know as, was a stark departure from the home computers that preceded it. With a modular architecture giving the ability to add features internal to the machine, the PC was a personal computer that would actually minimize desktop usage. Anyone with a CoCo and an MPI, or a TI-99/4a and it's behemoth expansion aparattus knows the value of desk space in a home office. While not a graphical power-house upon release, with it's CGA graphics, the PC quickly began to receive third party hardware support, much to IBM's chagrine.

Tandy's response to the IBM entrant into the personal computer market was much the same as other companies; basically equivalent to an 'it'll never take off' sort of attitude. Atari, Commodore and Apple had a similar response, and for several years, there was little competition to the IBM. IBM felt very diffierently, as the powers that be felt the rest of the home computer market consisted of toys and hobbiest machines at best. It was only a few months after release that first IBM PC 'Clone' hit the market, and IBM promptly sued nearly every company that brought a clone to market, claiming copyright infringment and making the defending company prove they didn't use IBM's BIOS.

You can read a lot more about the history of the PC and the Clone Wars that followed using this link.

Most anybody reading this site probably either lived thru the times, or already knows about the hardware wars of the mid to late 80's. For me, researching this again was nostalgia, as I had forgotten some details, but I again, digress. It took another two years for Tandy/Radio Shack to release a PC based computer, the myth, the legend, the partly IBM compatible, the Tandy 2000. The links in the NAV bar to your left will take you to pages covering the various PC style computers released by Tandy during the 80's and 90's. My intention is to hit every model, prior to the AST sell-out, as nobody wasnts THOSE memories...