Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer

The TRS-80 Color Computer, or CoCo, is sometimes left out of the discussion of great 8-bit home computers despite its popularity. Tandy sold millions of them through its network of Radio Shack stores, but a strong retail channel was not the only reason for its success.

TRS-80 Color Computer
Source: Tandy Corp., 1980

The CoCo was a strong performing, inexpensive computer with a solid base of software. Its powerful 6809 processor and support chips enabled color video before many competitors. With the later option of the OS-9 operating system and expanded memory, the CoCo was also a viable development or business system.

The photo here shows a first-generation CoCo, apparently in a law office. Though most CoCos were sold as family computers or to hobbyists, some small businesses did use them and there was enough of a software base to support business use.

Introduced: July 1980
Original Retail Price: $399
Base Configuration: 0.894MHz 6809E CPU; ROM cartridge slot; 4K RAM (16K max); 8K ROM; TV switch box, integral Chiclet-style keyboard; RS-232C, cassette, and two game ports; TRS-80 Color BASIC; operation and Color BASIC manuals; reference card
Video: 16-line x 32-column text, 64 x 32 graphics
Important Options: Multi-Pak Interface, external floppy disk drive, CTR-80A cassette recorder, enhanced graphics, joysticks, Quick Printer II, modem, Extended Color BASIC ROM

Published by

Michael Nadeau

I am the author of Collectible Microcomputers (Schiffer Books, 2002) and have been an editor of many technology publications including BYTE, 80 Micro, and HOT CoCo. My interest in the history of information technology is broad. I use my blogs, ClassicTech and Vintage Computer Photos, to build on the work I did for Collectible Microcomputers.

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