Whatever Happened to the Texas Instruments Home Computer? — This should be a must-read for anyone in marketing.


The once famous TI 99/4



  1. doug says:

    we had one of those when I was a youngun. Hooked it up to the TV. My mom, a speedy touch-typist, took one look at the keyboard and never touched it. What kind of maroon omits basic QWERTY keys?

    About all I remember about the software was that it had a pretty decent Star Trek game …

    And then we got our C64 and the TI gathered dust on a basement shelf.

    Ah, memories.

  2. Peter Rodwell says:

    Hi João – I learned about the Portuguese tilde when I lived in Brazil!

  3. Jell-O Bob says:

    I remember my family owning one of these, I can’t imagine why.

    In fact, I learned to type in the summer of 1985, not with a TI 99/4 of course, but on old manual typewriter from the 70’s. That speaks to how worthless the keyboard was.

    However, It was fun to play games on, and I was able to buy a new game every week on my $5 allowance from the local computer store.

    So it didn’t have a question mark? I guess that would keep people from asking questions!

  4. The other Tom says:

    13
    My grandfather’s television had the telephone integrated into it. I’d venture to say he got the TV early-to-mid-80′s. I think it was called the “SpaceTV” or something similar.

    Some crazy technology, huh?

  5. Jim says:

    Termed one of the most visible flops in communications technology history.
    A couple of pic linx.
    L.H. Meacham and A.D. Hall on the experimental PICTUREPHONE. 1962
    http://www.bellsystemmemorial.com/telephones-picturephone.html
    Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty made the world’s first picture phone call.
    http://www.bellsystemmemorial.com/images/tvphone.gif
    Details
    Video phones finding niche after 40 years in development
    by Al Moyers
    Air Force Communications Agency Office of History
    http://zia.hss.cmu.edu/miller/eep/news/video2.ne.txt

    It was way ahead of its time. It was like Youtube live.

  6. Fred says:

    That was my brother’s and my first computer prior to the IBM PC Clone. It was an interesting machine and we did extended basic on it (games and databases) and stored data on the external tape recorder (used to save twice each time just to be sure). Funny thing was that we used cheap tapes from PicNSave. Such fun times. I remember the excitement of dialing into a BBS back in those days and compuserve.

    One drawback was the fact that the clumsy daisy chain would sometime cause it to lock up if you accidently bumped it.

    I agree about parsec. With TI, we always felt superior to Vic20 and Trash80, Com64 (except for the amount of apps on it). The Amiga was another story…

  7. Ben Yates says:

    Um – The TI had the ?-mark, just not on a separate key. I don’t remember WHAT key it shared on the 99/4, but on the 99/4A it was the key-combination “function-I”.

    He really should have reviewed the Sinclair ZX-81!

    As for it not having storage, even cassette, EVERY TI had cassette storage available. Most could operate two cassettes (latest model only one).

    And when the Mini-Memory cartridge came out, you could store your DATA or program on a cartridge.

    For a computer that was such a dud, there is still an avid following.