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What is the total number of Tandy 1000s sold?

jasa1063

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I know Radio Shack never released sales figures for the Tandy 1000, but I have always been curious as to the number of units sold during it's time in the 80s and early 90s. I know that in 1986 it accounted for 9.5% of all US computer sales, so the number must certainly have been several million at least. Just wanted to put the question out there if someone has the answer.
 
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rmay635703

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I would be interested in that as well but I think by the time of the RLX it was basically a dead platform
 

jasa1063

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I would be interested in that as well but I think by the time of the RLX it was basically a dead platform
Quite true, once VGA and Adlib/Sound Blaster came along it made the Tandy 1000 graphics and sound pretty much obsolete. The RLX and RSX both had VGA graphics, but retained the Tandy 1000 3 voice sound.
 

Hak Foo

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Quite true, once VGA and Adlib/Sound Blaster came along it made the Tandy 1000 graphics and sound pretty much obsolete. The RLX and RSX both had VGA graphics, but retained the Tandy 1000 3 voice sound.
TBH, I can see that still being a smart play.

* There was likely a window where the available software that supported Tandy sound exceeded that which supported Sound Blaster/Adlib. They can still point to all those boxes on the shelf and say "Works today!"
* Their sound option, having been pre-engineered and supply chain managed, was probably much cheaper than any manufacturer who might have wanted to include an AdLib or Sound Blaster in the box. Being able to say "premium sound in popular games" without having to say "$100 more" is a sellable feature.
* I think the Tandy sound products were relatively turnkey-- no worrying about jumpers, or checking the right options when you loaded a game, or hardware resource clashes. This likely kept support costs lower than even if they had used their mass volume to negotiate down a super-cheap SB/Adlib card.
 

Agent Orange

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The early Tandy's sold because they were ever present in the malls across the country and the price was right..
 

Eudimorphodon

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FWIW, anecdotally it seems like a lot of the people who had one of the bottom-end 1000’s like the EX and HX got them around 1990 or so, when the bottom just kind of fell out from under Tandy’s price points for tech as outdated as the 1000 was getting by then. (There are sales flyers on that Radio Shack catalog site that show, for instance, the HX marked down to $299 instead of its catalog price of $699, the TX also drastically marked down etc.)

If you dig through contemporary magazines to compare what you could get for the money over the 1000’s lifetime you’ll see it go from being a killer bargain in 1985, through a ”middle age” between ‘86 and ’89 where it wasn’t necessarily the best deal around but its unique features still made a good case for itself in the “home computer“ niche, to being comically overpriced at its catalog prices around 1990. (Maybe it might be a good second computer for the kids if you got it on sale, which it seems like Tandy was suddenly forced to do most of the time.) At this point I think the only reason it was able to stagger on another couple years was some combination of corporate inertia on Tandy’s part and the fact that there still was a sufficiently large base of customers out there that weren’t sophisticated enough to cross-shop it at ‘real’ computer stores or mail order, options that could be either unavailable or too intimidating compared to just going to the strip mall.

Frankly it boggles my mind that they were still hawking the TL and SL line as late as they were, and at those wishing list prices. The 1991 RSC-22 catalog puts the list price of a Tandy TL/2 with a 40MB hard drive and CM-11 color CGA monitor at $1,900. According to their ad in January 1991’s PC Magazine Gateway would sell you a 386/SX with 4MB of RAM, 42MB HD, Windows 3.0, and a 1024x768 color VGA monitor for exactly the same price… and yet the RL/RLX still somehow managed to make it into the 1992 catalog. Sheesh. I love my T1000s but I feel really sorry for anyone that paid list price for one after 1989…
 

rmay635703

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My folks bought a
1000RLX 512k, VGA color screen, “Color” DMP136, 1.44 floppy with a desk brand new for $399 as a package in
December 1992

Despite the specs was still a good deal.

We must remember Radio Shack ran like a car dealer, list price only mattered if you tried to upgrade.

There is a documentary of sorts about why Tandy and later Radio Shak failed the way they did when theoretically many of their lines were very profitable, put simply they didn’t know what things cost or what they were making profit on.
 

jasa1063

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When Tandy started selling the Tandy 1000 in late 1984 it was promoted on the value proposition as being about $1000 cheaper than an IBM PC that was similarly equipped. Tandy would then get you on upgrades and charge a premium for those. That is were they got back some of the money for selling the computer cheaper to begin with.
 

bifo86

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FWIW, anecdotally it seems like a lot of the people who had one of the bottom-end 1000’s like the EX and HX got them around 1990 or so, when the bottom just kind of fell out from under Tandy’s price points for tech as outdated as the 1000 was getting by then. (There are sales flyers on that Radio Shack catalog site that show, for instance, the HX marked down to $299 instead of its catalog price of $699, the TX also drastically marked down etc.)

If you dig through contemporary magazines to compare what you could get for the money over the 1000’s lifetime you’ll see it go from being a killer bargain in 1985, through a ”middle age” between ‘86 and ’89 where it wasn’t necessarily the best deal around but its unique features still made a good case for itself in the “home computer“ niche, to being comically overpriced at its catalog prices around 1990. (Maybe it might be a good second computer for the kids if you got it on sale, which it seems like Tandy was suddenly forced to do most of the time.) At this point I think the only reason it was able to stagger on another couple years was some combination of corporate inertia on Tandy’s part and the fact that there still was a sufficiently large base of customers out there that weren’t sophisticated enough to cross-shop it at ‘real’ computer stores or mail order, options that could be either unavailable or too intimidating compared to just going to the strip mall.

Frankly it boggles my mind that they were still hawking the TL and SL line as late as they were, and at those wishing list prices. The 1991 RSC-22 catalog puts the list price of a Tandy TL/2 with a 40MB hard drive and CM-11 color CGA monitor at $1,900. According to their ad in January 1991’s PC Magazine Gateway would sell you a 386/SX with 4MB of RAM, 42MB HD, Windows 3.0, and a 1024x768 color VGA monitor for exactly the same price… and yet the RL/RLX still somehow managed to make it into the 1992 catalog. Sheesh. I love my T1000s but I feel really sorry for anyone that paid list price for one after 1989…
This was very much the Tandy business model across the board, not limited to PCs or even computers in general. The end of the TRS-80 Color Computer line had them dumping maxed out CoCo 3s for next to nothing just to clear out the stock, even if they were taking a huge loss on each one. They would do that sort of thing with products all the time back then, to the point where people knew that if they wanted a particular Tandy/RS product but it wasn't especially necessary to have it right now, they could just wait until Tandy decided to drop the model and keep an eye on the catalog to get it on a deep discount. My grandparents were masters of bargain hunting back then, so I remember birthday and christmas presents that in retrospect were probably close-out stuff from Radio Shack like electronics training kits, and they always had gadgets like radios, police scanners, motorized tv antennas, etc.

Tandy was far from the only company to do this sort of thing at the time, but they were the ones who usually actually bought up those supplies from other companies dumping to market, to resell as parts in Radio Shack stores, instead of doing the dumping themselves. Far cry from today, when the biggest sin a company can do is write down a loss on the books, so they prefer to sit on unsaleable stock forever.
 
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