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Selecting a Vintage Texas Instruments Home Computer

Texas Instruments, started out with providing geophysical services in the early 20th century before incorporating into an electronics company. Before producing mainly semiconductors and electrical circuits, the company manufactured home computers up to the early 90’s.

When did Texas instruments start producing computers?

Texas instruments started producing a series of minicomputer models in the 1970s. It started with the TI 960, which was the prototype for their other minicomputer products. This was followed by the TI 980 and 990, which were released in the late 70’s as an upgrade to the TI 960. The earlier TI minicomputer models incorporated an 8-inch double floppy drive and a fixed/removable disk drive. In the early 80s, the company ventured into the home computer market with their first 16-bit model, the TI 99/4 and 4A. Another generation of computing devices was released in the 90s, which included laptop models such as the TravelMate 2000.

What home computer categories were released by the company?

Vintage Texas Instruments home devices can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Desktops: The company released the TIPC or the TI Professional Computer in the 80s. This model comes with a 720 x 300 pixel colored display monitor. It has a voice recognition system capability, a 512K RAM memory, and an Ethernet network capability. Another model introduced by the company is the TI-99/4 and 4A, their first 16-bit microprocessor device with its own operating system. The company produced a range of third-party cartridges for the TI-99/4 and 4A, including games and software programs.
  • Portable Devices: The third generation of home devices from Texas Instruments included laptop models. The company released a portable version of the TIPC, the TIPPC, which is the portable professional version. It comes with a 9-inch monochrome, or you could get a colored monitor as an upgrade. The display resolution of the TIPPC is at 720 x 300 pixels. It also has a 64K RAM that could be upgraded to 768K. In the 90s, TI issued the TravelMate 2000, an 11- x 8.5-inch laptop that weighs less than 5 lbs. It has a 1MB RAM. a 20MB hard disc capacity, and a file transfer software program.
Are these vintage computers capable of speech synthesis?

Some of the home devices manufactured by Texas Instruments are capable of speech synthesis and even speech recognition. This feature was introduced as a peripheral device for the TIPC, TIPPC, and the TI-99/4 and 4A models. When the feature is activated, the computer becomes capable of understanding simple operational commands.

Can you connect a TI vintage device to a network?

The TIPC and TIPPC models come with an ethernet card which allows the device to connect to a network.

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