[Coco] Re: : Tandy's biggest mistakes thread
yahoo at dvdplayersonly.com
Wed Apr 20 18:55:52 EDT 2005
I worked at Motorola C&E for nine years starting in '76.
My first exposure to microcomputers was shortly after I started with them
and began working on RDAT(Remote Data Acquisition Telephony). The heart of
the system used a 6800.
After seeing how neat this was, I figured there would be a lot more stuff
coming out with microprocessors, so I ordered the training manuals on
microprocessors from Motorola.
Then I ordered a series of books from them on their chips, cpu's and
whatever I could get my hands on... it was free to employees.
In one of the CPU books, there was the sheets on the 6809 and a sample
schematic for a small computer...
Motorola claimed this sort of system would be great for a home computer for
playing games and doing light computing.
Later, I bought a 4k coco($400). It was pretty cool!
Then I ordered the tech manual for it from RS and discovered it was exactly
the same as the Motorola design except for a small difference in an AND
gate(IIRC). I think that was a change I made to the coco to utilize the 64k
once I could afford those expensive memory chips.
It's not surprising that RS marketed it exactly as Motorola suggested. I'm
pretty sure no one really knew what was going to happen in the home computer
It was Motorola that leaned on RS to release OS-9 for the coco. Of course,
we all know Motorola and Microware were buddies back then. I don't know
It's my belief that RS isn't really to blame for the lack of success for
the coco. I think they just didn't really know what to do with it.
As it has been said... the Coco 3 was too late and by this time RS was
doing things their own way.
I remember the sales force at RS would not push the coco at all. As a
matter of fact, they would try to talk people out of buying them, as it was
only a game machine and you couldn't do anything else with it. They didn't
know what OS-9 was, but they knew it was on the shelves.
When the 4k Coco was released, there was already a following for the Z80
from amateur radio operators, folks into robotics and other hobby areas.
CP/M was the hot OS then too.
All this is from my fading memory of those days.
I recall trying to buy an Apple then before I got the coco. The Apple
salesman wouldn't even talk to me because I didn't want disk drives,
monitor, printer, paper and whatever else he was pushing. I only wanted the
box to play with to see if I wanted to venture further into this sort of
Rat Shack was eager to sell the 4k Coco to me after trying to talk me into
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