The Texas Instruments TI-99/4 is considered by some as the world's first 16-bit home computer. The TI-99/4 was released in late 1979 and retailed at $1,150 in the US and £990 in the UK. In 1981, the updated TI-99/4A was released. However, the home computer was not a success and in 1982 a price war with the VIC-20 resulted in Texas Instruments lowering the price of the computer to $49.
The TI-99/4 features the TMS9900 CPU and the TMS9918 video chip which did not have bitmap graphics capability, so all the graphics were character based. The combined memory capacity of the TI-99/4 is 72K which is made up of 26K ROM for its Basic, monitor and utilities, 16K RAM, and up to 30K in external ROM. To the right of the keys on the keyboard there is a slot for plug-in solid-state software command modules, which resemble the plug-in cartridges on programmable TV games.
It has a 52-key, chiclet-style staggered keyboard. When turned on the machine prompts for use of the calculator or TI Basic. The colour monitor supplied with the computer in the U.K. was a modified dual-standard, portable colour television, capable of receiving normal TV programmes. The display is 29 characters by 24 lines, displayable in 16 colours. An optional speech synthesizer was available, allowing Texas Instruments to market the computer as a home computer which talked.
Due to its short lifespan and poor sales the TI-99/4 is quite rare today. The later TI-99/4A was much more popular due to its low price tag later in its life. The TI-99/4A was discontinued in November 1983 due to the fact that Texas Instruments were making a loss on the computer.
It was supplied in a moulded plastic case, and plain cardboard box.
Manufacturer: Texas Instruments
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