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KC9UDX

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I would hazard the guess that the first microprocessor was the Intel 4004.

I would say it was the TMS1000. But, I've also heard it might have been a handful of others. RCA or Fairchild, I don't recall.
 

vwestlife

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"The first home computer" I think is still up to debate although different entities and museums have stated various opinions. The blurriness ranges from ideas that were dated before others on paper, actual products released, and actual number of products released are all in the endless debate on who was first.

The first true home computer was the Commodore VIC-20. It was the first computer sold at mass-market retailers like department stores and toy stores, rather than only being sold by computer dealers and electronics stores, like the Apple II, TRS-80, and PET.
 

KC9UDX

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The first true home computer was the Commodore VIC-20. It was the first computer sold at mass-market retailers like department stores and toy stores, rather than only being sold by computer dealers and electronics stores, like the Apple II, TRS-80, and PET.

That's a very good point. But, where were the Atari machines being sold? I don't recall seeing them for sale anywhere.
 

krebizfan

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That's a very good point. But, where were the Atari machines being sold? I don't recall seeing them for sale anywhere.

Atari machines were originally sold through the typical computer dealer system but later were available through department stores.
 

lowen

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That's a very good point. But, where were the Atari machines being sold? I don't recall seeing them for sale anywhere.

Sears sold Ataris, both in the stores and through their catalogs. But the price put them out of reach for many people. I personally bought my first home computer from K-mart; it was a VIC-20, and it cost $99 by that time. I still have it.

It was not my first choice; I would very much have preferred a TRS-80 Model III (or Model 4 by that time). But they started at ten times the price of the VIC, and since I was using the proceeds of a summer's worth of mowing cemeteries to purchase the unit, I only had a very few choices. I had actually looked at the Timex-Sinclair 1000, since it had a Z80 like the TRS-80 that I really wanted, but in person the TS1000 is a bit underwhelming, and the real keyboard of the VIC was compelling.
 

facattack

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I think I began the websearch by watching an old interview between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Then i read a wiki on Bill Gates... then the IBM PC, then home computers ....

There were some sparing remarks on Xbox 360 while primarily Microsoft was centered on being called a software company.

EDIT: Bill is called William Gates, III aka Trey in the wikipedia article.
 

Doug G

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That's a very good point. But, where were the Atari machines being sold? I don't recall seeing them for sale anywhere.
CDC had consumer retail stores in 1979-80 and sold Atari among other "consumer" computer products. I spent much of 1980 being the Atari repair tech in one of their stores, it was in a shopping center not an office building.
 

Agent Orange

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The first true home computer was the Commodore VIC-20. It was the first computer sold at mass-market retailers like department stores and toy stores, rather than only being sold by computer dealers and electronics stores, like the Apple II, TRS-80, and PET.

You are probably right about the VIC-20 having a broader marketing range, but I don't buy the argument that it was the "first true" home computer. I'm voting for the Model I which was around about 3 years earlier. Heck, we were using that thing in the lab doing chemical formulation work-ups in 1980.
 

krebizfan

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You are probably right about the VIC-20 having a broader marketing range, but I don't buy the argument that it was the "first true" home computer. I'm voting for the Model I which was around about 3 years earlier. Heck, we were using that thing in the lab doing chemical formulation work-ups in 1980.

The Model I was marketed for business use with the focus on business software which could also be used for education and maybe even have a game or two. The VIC-20 was marketed as a games machine that could also do other things.
 

Agent Orange

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The Model I was marketed for business use with the focus on business software which could also be used for education and maybe even have a game or two. The VIC-20 was marketed as a games machine that could also do other things.

So what are you saying, the Model I wasn't a home machine? Anyone who had a Pong machine laying around the house back in the day wanted one.
 

KC9UDX

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That's mainly because there wasn't anything else to want, and those kind of people were prone to shop at RadioShack (that wasn't a bad thing back then!). People wanted them for the novelty, not for a specific purpose.

People did buy TI-99/4's, VIC-20's (and I can only assume Atari 400/800's) for specific home purposes. Mostly games, but also there was this idea that we'd all be balancing checkbooks, buying/selling stocks, archiving recipes, and a list of other things. The advertisements for these machines told us that's what we were going to be doing with them. I don't remember the TRS-80, Apple ][, or PET being marketed that way. The Apple was, later on. I have no idea what the PET marketing was like, I never saw it. But, what I remember about the TRS-80 was either you were supposed to use it for 'business' or you were going to start a business out of your home with it.
 

facattack

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Okay, This is kinda a topic about graphics and sound not whose horse came in first place. Let's see some screenies or links to Youtube videos. Compare and contrast.
 

vwestlife

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But, what I remember about the TRS-80 was either you were supposed to use it for 'business' or you were going to start a business out of your home with it.

Radio Shack did mention home use of the TRS-80 Model I, but it never was emphasized in their marketing, especially once the Color Computer was introduced, since that was the model they aimed squarely at the home market.

From the 1981 TRS-80 catalog, about the Model I: "It's a proven system, used by business people, professionals, and 'just plain folks' everywhere for accounting, education, lab work, budget management, word processing -- even games at home."

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/html/catalogs_extra/1981_rsc-04/h012.html
 

Scali

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Radio Shack did mention home use of the TRS-80 Model I, but it never was emphasized in their marketing, especially once the Color Computer was introduced, since that was the model they aimed squarely at the home market.

I think the problem is also cost.
In the late 70s, these machines were still very expensive to build. You could try to aim them at the home market, but if the pricetag is too high, not a lot of people are going to buy it. So a focus on business use, where there are larger budgets, was also important.
Around 1980, prices have come down far enough that every home user could afford a computer.
I see Commodore as the biggest factor in this development. They worked very hard to get the cost of the VIC-20 and C64 down as low as possible, and even bought MOS in the process to do so. They ended up with two of the best-selling computers ever made, truly bringing the computer to the home.

But I guess it depends on what criteria you have for "home computer"...
VIC-20 was the first massively successful home computer at least.
But, disregarding price and marketshare, it was not the first of its kind.
 

krebizfan

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Calling a system "home computer" as distinct from "business computer" or "office computer" can't happen until separate product lines exist. In 1977, magazines would call the new systems "microcomputer," "personal computer," or "home computer" interchangeably. So the pure business proto-CAD system that cost more than a house was covered in the article on "home computers" as the Commodore PET. After 1980, "home computers" were a distinct category covered by different magazines than "business computers" and manufacturers were making adjustments to product lines to have a cheap home computer and an expensive business computer.

I had a PDP-11 in my home but no one will count the PDP-11 in the category of home computers.
 

kb2syd

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No, the first home computer was the Imsai 8080 introduced in 1974, the PC was introduced in 1981, up till then business machines were S100 CP/M machines.
TRS-80 model II was primarily a business machine introduced in 1979. It was not S-100 and they sold a LOT of them. It did run CP/M and TRS-DOS. We used TRS-DOS here.
 

Uniballer

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I had a PDP-11 in my home but no one will count the PDP-11 in the category of home computers.
I must disagree. The first computer I ever bought for my home was a PDP-11/73 (I kept it in the kitchen with the other appliances). It sure seemed like a home computer to me.
 
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