Early days of the PC with Radio Shack's TRS-80

Introducing affordable electronics to America, including computers, stereo receivers, and cellular phones, Radio Shack arguably did more for the culture of digital consumerism in the United States than any other company.




Lewis Kornfeld, who died Friday at the age of 97 in Fort Worth, Texas, was the president of Radio Shack in 1977 when he saw a grand future for the personal computer

When Kornfeld and Radio Shack debuted the TRS-80 in 1977, the personal home computer market was wide open. With no major player dominating consumer's pocketbooks, and no perceived consumer need for this technology, the future was unknown.

The TRS-80 microcomputer was priced at just $599.95 and stood in stark contrast to the build-it-yourself machines available to super technical hobbyists at the time. It was a rudimentary machine by today's standards, but it was a revolution in all-in-one technology and price at the time.

When it launched, consumers went wild, and the TRS-80 was backordered for months, ultimately selling nearly twice as many units as Radio Shack had originally projected.

Introducing affordable electronics to America including computers, stereo receivers, and cellular phones, Radio Shack arguably did more to promote the culture of digital consumerism in the United States than any other company.

Take a look at the early days of the personal computer - Radio Shack's TRS-80.
About the author

James Martin is the staff photographer at CNET News, covering the geeks and gadgets of Silicon Valley. When he's not live-blogging the latest product launches from Apple, Google, or Facebook, James can be found exploring NASA, probing robotics labs, and getting behind-the-scenes with some of the Bay Area's most innovative thinkers.

 

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