Computer Changes in the 1970'sIn the last few decades, computers have made huge strides in improving and making the world more accessible to the general population. In the 1970s, few people had no idea what their computer technology would lead to. Even fewer of them probably had the vision that they would have been made into what they are now. But in the 1970s, the popularity of computers was just beginning to take hold. As a result, several companies were expanding and improving on computer technology to increase the income potential and by making personal home computers more accessible and fun to use for everybody.
An idea of how much Computer's were in the 70's
Atari Video Computer System $199 New York 1979
Radio Shack TRS80 Computer $399 Illinois 1978
The Tandy Corporation was one of the leading computer technology companies in the 1970s. Their most popular item – the TRS-80 – arrived on the market in the late 1970s and was immediately popular. People waited for the release of this product that was exclusively sold at Radio Shack. For only $600, many everyday people could afford to have a personal computer in their home. In fact, over 10,000 units were sold within the first month of the TRS-80 being on the market. Within its first year, over 55,000 consumers bought Tandy TRS-80 to use in their home or office and over 250,000 of them sold in the next few years. In 1981, the TRS-80 was discontinued to make way for upgraded and more popular brands and models.
Tandy Corporation’s TRS-80 had a keyboard and motherboard all-in-one. This became a common trend that other companies would use for their personal computer products. It was also a 1.77 MHz, which was almost unheard of for personal computers at the time it was marketed. Normal cassette tapes were used to store data and the monitor was a white-on-black display that showed mostly only capital letters. For an extra price, TRS-80 owners could upgrade or get a separate floppy disk drive which provided even more storage. It was popular in many homes because it offered software that people could use for playing Pac-Man, Centipede, Galaxian, and other popular video games of the era. The TRS-80 also included office applications, including a word processor, calculator, and early spreadsheet capabilities.
In 1977, the Apple Company introduced their Apple II model. The Apple II was well-received by the public because it was produced specifically to market to the masses. In fact, this is the model that many believe to be the beginning of the personal computer revolution because it was the first of the successful home computer systems in the United States. This was such a durable and popular model that it still retained its popularity even into the early 1990s and some of them are still in use in classrooms today.
For a price between $1300 and $2600 depending on the amount of memory you choose, computer users could own an Apple II and hook it up to their TV for a monitor. The Apple II came in a durable carrying case and had color and high resolution graphics and an impressive sound. Inside the computer, the product used both Applesoft and Integer programming languages which were both based on the BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language. The hard drive was also a 1 MHz with 4 kilobytes of memory which, at the time, was a great deal of storage capacity that people could use for a variety of purposes. The following year after it was introduced, Apple II users could upgrade or buy an external floppy disk drive to replace cassette tapes as their storage medium. This was not only more convenient, but disks also had a larger capacity for storage.
The late 1970s saw the popularization of personal computers and the progress has not stopped since then. Many companies saw what was happening in the computer market during the decade and strived to improve on those products in the following decade. People during the late 70s embraced the personal computer and used them for a variety of reasons, including games, office applications, home finance organization, storing data and many more options. Companies and people recognized the unlimited possibilities that they could enjoy with their own personal computer and used many of those possibilities to their advantage.
Although the IBM ( PC ) personal computer was not released until 1981 you can see the building blocks needed to create the PC appearing in the 1970's from Intel, Microsoft and IBM. Apple and Commodore have already proved the market is there and have created a strong following, the first "killer app" of the business world the VisiCalc spreadsheet program is created to run on Apple and moves the Apple from being a hobbyist's toy to being a much-desired, useful financial tool for business
Some of the dates for 70's Computer InnovationsFirst RAM chip Intel 1970
4004 microprocessor Intel 1971
8008 microprocessor Intel 1971
8080 Microprocessor Intel 1974
Altair 8800, the second personal computer 1974
BASIC by Bill Gates and Paul Allen and formation of Microsoft, developed for Altair 1975
Apple I single-board computer 1976
Z80 chip released by Zilog 1976
Apple II 1977
Tandy TRS80 1977
Commodore PET 1978
Arcade Video game 'Space Invaders' released 1979
IBM start development work on personal computer 1979