The TRS-80 Model 100 was one of the earlier computers that had good marketing success. It turned out to be a useful computer that even starred in a few Hollywood films. It was also labeled as a “Tandy Model 100” and inspired a second model that came after it, the Model 200. It was the Model 100 that literally “stole the show”.
The TRS-80 Model 100 turned out to be a star, not just being popular but actually showing up in movies such as, “Extreme Prejudice” and “Miracle Mile”. It was sold back in 1983 and had a lot going for it. The company from Kyocera in Japan manufactured the Model 100 and Bill Gates even wrote a few programs for this computer. Tandy, Olivetti and NEC were all marketing this same computer in slightly different forms. None of the differences were major. A fun fact to know about the TRS-80 Model 100 is that its same processor was used in a NASA mars rover called the “Sojourner”. Those who bought it used it to avoid having to dictate a news story or business meetings over the phone. They just typed it out on the TRS-80 Model 100 and sent it off over its included modem. It could run on some very small batteries for 20 hours at a time. The machine can still be used to send and receive emails today. It was one of the first computers to be assigned the title “laptop”.
The hardware for the TRS-80 Model 100 was centered around the 80C85 microprocessor. The first models to come out used up so much of the random access memory ( RAM ) that a successor quickly needed to be made. It was the Model 102. The maximum RAM that the Model 100 could hold was 32 kilobytes, the small 8 kilobytes could be upgraded with “RAM packs” to reach the maximum amount. The read-only memory ( ROM ) was 64 kilobytes in size. It came standard as a 32 kilobyte size but an optional 32 kilobytes could be added. The keyboard was a full size model that was styled after the typewriter. Tandy gave the TRS-80 Model 100 a modem, cassette interface, a built-in bar code reader, and a parallel printer interface. The screen was small and was crafted from liquid crystal ( LCD ). An interior battery would hold the memory in state for 40 days on the eight kilobyte model and ten days on the 32 kilobyte model. The baud rate for the integrated modem was 300 BPS.
The software that was included with the TRS-80 Model 100 allowed it to prepare text, make organizing events easier, and more. The modem allowed anyone to write something up and then send it over a telephone line. Schedule organizing was handled by the Microsoft software. The name of the operating system was Microsoft BASIC, but in an enhanced version. Later versions of the TRS-80 Model 100 would have the same. The software is robust and can do word processing, run business applications, games and can also operate as a web server.
The TRS-80 Model 100 weighed in at three pounds. The size was nearly 11 5/8 inches wide by eight inches long by two inches tall. If the buyer got the model with the least memory, the price was $800 dollars. If they opted for the largest memory package, the price was $1300 dollars. Some say the Tandy Model 100 never got the recognition it deserved as the cornerstone of early computing. The Tandy corporation was blamed for this, since they failed to maximize the relation this computer had with the public.
TRS-80 Model 100 computer routinely sell for around $200.00 in good working condition.