Daily Giz Wiz 110: Tandy Model 100

Episode 110 of the podcast

Subject: Review of Tandy Model 100
Released:Friday 21 July 2006
Length:about 11 minutes
Download file:dgw0110.mp3 (5 MB)

Listen to the episode

Short info

From the Gadget Warehouse: Built and designed by Kyocera of Japan, the Model 100 was sold by both Radio Shack and NEC. If I recall correctly the NEC had a few extra features, but other than that they were almost identical in size and looks. These are considered the world's first laptop computers, sporting a full-size keyboard. They came with built-in software - Microsoft BASIC programming language, a word processor, and modem software for the built-in 300 baud modem. And talk about battery life. It ran for 20 on 4 "buy them anywhere" AA batteries! Of course the screen showed just eight lines of text, 40 characters wide in monochrome, but I thought it was amazing that I could write MAD scripts on an airplane. I think the NEC version accepted external memory cartridges. I also had model 102, which came out in 1986. It was $499 and very similar to the 100 but it featured an amazing 24K built in memory! Talk about an upgrade! It had 4X the memory of the original! Also the newer model took ROM modules which you could buy with various applications burned on them.

Detailed information

The Radio Shack (or Tandy) Model 100's were considered the world's first laptops.  It was made by Kyocera from Japan, and licensed to NEC.  The monochrome screen was 40 characters wide and 8 lines high.  The Model 100 had 8KB memory, and a later Model 102 had 24KB.  It used Microsoft BASIC, a word processor, and a 300 baud modem.  Its 4 AA batteries could run for 20 hours. The NEC model had a extra slot for memory cartridges for additional application modules.

eBay Auction

Leo sees a Model 100 available on eBay, auction starting at $15.  He's going to bid for it.

Club 100

An easier way of getting hold of a Model 100 may be the Club 100, run by Rick Hanson, where you can get a lot of information about the Model 100 and later models, and even order one for yourself.  For an interview of Rick Hanson by Leo, listen to The Tech Guy Episode 438, about 1 hr 21 minutes into the show.

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