Home computer

of these articles is computer historical. Home computer designation nonspecific also on applications of homes laid out commercial computers

home computers was a name for computers, common into the 1980er years, which were above all privately used . Although home computers as personal computers of the definition one Personal computer corresponded and of the manufacturers partly also such were called, were particularly to the private user and to the use for maintenance purposes cut they in price and equipment. The term home computer became into the 1980er years thereforepredominantly to the distinction of the more expensive, predominantly in business used personal computer uses.

The development of the home computers accompanied thereby with the development of the play consoles and computer games. To some home computer models there were even technically nearly identical devices as play console, which only those Keyboard was missing.

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The beginnings

the beginnings of the home computers lie into the 1970er year, when of some California companies kits for small computers at hobby electronics amateur handicraftsmen were driven out (for example for the old air 8800). The three first computers for home users and small firms, thosenot when kit were driven out, the TRS-80 was von Radio Shack, a chain of stores for radios and televisions in the USA, Apple II and the Commodore PET 2001. All three became in April 1977 on the Consumer Electronics show, a commercial fair in Vegas read, presented. As one of the first home computers 1980 the ZX-80 von Sinclair came into the trade, 1981, the successor ZX-81, soon thereafter the ZX-Spectrum. All three were based on the Z80 processor of Zilog. Texas Instruments even already used 16-bit-Technik with its own processor and the computer TI-99. A further in former times home computer, but with that 6502 - processor of MOS Technologies, was the VC20 von Commodore.

In Germany the market situation sawsomewhat differently out: Apple required here enormously high prices, so that above all Commodore could dominate the market in this segment and in these years; Apple, Tandy, Sinclair and Texas Instruments followed with clear distance.

the technologythe first years

used as mass storages outside of the USA above all commercial Compact cartridges (audio cartridges), partly with special simple Kassettenrekordern, called in case of the C64 DATA-set, partly over usual music Kassettenrekorder. ¼ tariff, there were floppy disk drives, usually in the format 5usually as accessories, whereby these often reached or exceeded the price of the basic equipment. In the USA they were nevertheless more common than the slow and error-prone DATA setting. As screen usually the television served instead of a special computer monitor, why also of thatmodels existed to most home computer models easily different PAL - and NTSC -, depending upon the television standard of sales sale. The home computers were usually with a diagram chip and a sound chip equipped and thus in a the position to represent simple diagrams as well as produce sounds. Thoseused first home computer 8-bit processors, for example the Z80 or 6502 - derivatives, against center until the end of the 80's were displaced these by 16/32-bit-Typen like Motorola 68000. The sound abilities and diagram became more complex and the connection of non removable disks andbecame possible for other PC periphery.

MSX 1-Computer von Sony

operating system and BASIC as programming language were stored often in the ROM and formed a unit, did not have thus not when starting to be loaded, why most home computers after switching on on within fewer seconds operationallyare. With MSX by Microsoft and Sony the attempt was undertaken to standardize operating system and BASIC and to make a Programmaustausch possible between computers of different manufacturers. The MSX standard was among other things in South America and Japan successfully, could itself in Germany howeverdo not intersperse.

Die 80er-Jahre

In den Jahren von 1977 bis 1980 beherrschte der Apple II und die illegalen Apple-Clonesden Markt der so genannten Mikrocomputer in den USA. Both in the office employment and and home computer was hethe prominent “personnel computer”. Outside of the USA the market for microcomputers was at that time still very small, which was connected also with the many higher prices for such devices outside of the USA. In Germany Commodore was the clear market leader.

IBM against it controlledthe market of the large computers and department computers; long time had considered and had neglected the management the new market the “personnel computer” not lucrative.1981 changed this: Within shortest time IBM developed its own personnel a computer on basis of standard electronics elementsand threw these on the market, the IBM-PC. After a contract with the offerer of microcomputer operating systems, leading at that time , failed digitally to Research, to an offer of Microsoft one fell back, the MS-DOS.

The market position of IBM ensured for the fact thatthe IBM-PC within the office range fast interspersed itself - many enterprises wanted to refer their computer systems from a hand and ordered its PCs therefore with the same offerer, from whom also their larger systems came.

At the end of of 1982 brought the C64 to Commodore as a successorthe VC20 on the market. Due to its in the comparison with the “professional” computers like Apple the II and IBM PC of substantially favourable price became this “bread box” fast the usually-sold home computer of all times.

Apple concentrated meanwhile after some failureswith new models on the avant-garde Apple Macintosh and a prominent position achieved in particular with this within the High end range and with the desktop publishing.

1985 arose with the Commodore Amiga and the Atari sp however already a new generation of home computersthe market, which along-played in the technological top class at that time. Both used processors from the Motorola-68xxx - series, which were used also in the Macintosh, and offered so far within the home range unknown graphic possibilities. Processor and Speicheraustattung could loosely with the top model of the IBM PC series,IBM RK, keep up. New was also the graphic user surface. With the Atari the “Look & Feel” leaned sp strongly against the Apple Macintosh, the Amiga showed here more self-sufficiency. Windows against it at that time still was in the child shoes;no IBM PC user got along without DOS knowledge.

In particular the Atari sp achieved high sales figures due to these advantages in connection with the favourable price in Europe soon and also in the professional range was used (desktop publishing, bookkeeping, secretariat, cash computer). By the inserted MIDI - Interfaces captured it however above all a prominent position within the music range.

Approximately to the same time published also the first Archimedes - computers of the British manufacturer Acorn, on 32-Bit - RISC processors was based and thus technologically to its time far aheadwas. It achieved however never a sufficient market penetration, the software offer remained small. Already 1990 had to give up the manufacturer.

consolidation of the market

the market for home computers was not to each other compatible systems splintered end of the 1980-he 1980 into many. OfAt the beginning of to for instance in the middle of the 1990er years followed a consolidation phase, after which except under Microsoft Windows - to operating systems running devices compatible to the IBM-PC no more home computers were strictly speaking offered.

The older already disappeared to end of the 80'sSystems of the market, which were based still on an 8-bit architecture and which new 16-Bit processors with their larger address area had been subject.

Clear winners were first the Atari - and Amiga - systems. However some business errors occurred to the companies involved - underother one by neglect of the professional and the US market and unsuccessful concentration on the European market -, which they led in the long run into the loss zone and prevented an advancement of the technology.

With it the IBM-PC had become generally accepted, that

  • from Apple the II home computersthe idea of the open system had taken over, i.e. one knew these systems owing to existing free Slots by extension cards (z. B. Diagram maps, sound maps) rig. The competition products set against it usually on complete systems with only few expandabilities.
  • owing to open technical specificationsby many third manufacturers, like already before with Apple was copied favorably and/or better the II also; contrary to Apple II these reproductions were also legal, which promoted the employment of the reproductions also to enterprises.
  • by the market power by IBMfast had obtained a large market share in the Office range of application; thus many software producers were interested to offer professional software in this system. The variety of applications for office and home had been already with Apple II basis of success.

After Microsoft at the beginning of the 1990er the arrears of the Windows surface in relation to the operating systems of the Atari and Amiga systems do not only up-get could, but at the same time offensively the development of plays for the own operating system forced and hardware manufacturers with the development of diagram and sound extensionspromoted, which made the “personnel computer “whom is based on the IBM-PC attractive maintenance devices, Windows became fast the most popular operating system for home computers.

Thus again the market power of Microsoft became strongly enough that also the attempts of IBM and othersTo become more independent by the development of own operating systems failed to hardware manufacturers;OS/2 and other new developments never reached the home computer market, which meanwhile just as importantly for the advancement PC - range had become like application as office computer.

home computers inOsteuropa

In Osteuropa fand eine ähnliche Entwicklung von Heimcomputern wie in Westeuropa statt. Before the turn already desired, still many western home computers found their way to Eastern Europe after the turn starting from 1990, since they were substantially lower-priced opposite PCs.


in the GDR the home computers in small computers were renamed, when it appeared that domestic production could cover only the demand in schools and enterprises. The small computers in the GDR were based all on the U880 as Processor, a reproduction of the Z80.

The first computers were the Poly computer 880 and the LC80 (process card for educational computers). These had a screen connection and were not only suitable to demonstrate the basic functions of a microcomputer.

From the VEB microelectronics“William Pieck” Mühlhausen/Thuringia came the HC900. It was sold later than KC85 /2. Advancements of this series were the KC85 /3 and KC85 /4.

Robotron KC87

parallel to it was developed in Dresden by the collective combine Robotron of the Z9001, which later than KC85 /1 as well as almost invariably as KC87 was sold.

Further there was a set of self-'s building computers, whose structural drawings were partly published in magazines.

  • Z1013 von Robotron from Riesa, kit, with which keyboard and power pack had to be only attached
  • AC1, amateur radio computers of the amateur radio magazine
  • jute computer of the magazine Jugend+Technik

1989/1990 were thought still the computers KC Compact and BIC 5105, the latters as education computers for schools, presented, achieved however no large spreading more.

Soviet Union


by the larger economical opening of Hungary contrary to the remaining countries of the Eastern Bloc gave it in Hungary a larger number of Commodore Plus4, which was used there as school computer.

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