Radio Shack TRS-80 MC-10
Released:Late 1983
CPU:Motorola MC6803 @ 0.89 MHz
RAM:4K internal, 16K external
Ports:serial, cassette, TV out
Display:32 x 16 text, 8 colors
optional thermal printer
Strorage:cassette recorder
OS:Microsoft BASIC in ROM

Super cheap, barely useful computers were sold by the millions in the early 80's. The scheme worked great for Sinclair of the UK - the Sinclair ZX-80 ($199) in 1980, and the Sinclair ZX-81 ($99) in 1981, combined easily sold over 500,000 units.

The Timex/Sinclair 1000 ($99) in 1982 sold more than that all by itself, and the new and improved Timex/Sinclair 1500 from 1983 sold for less than $80.

The TRS-80 MC-10 (MC=Micro Color) is a scaled-down version of the original TRS-80 Color Computer computer from 1980. The reason for this is apparently because cheap, simple computers seem to be popular, and the MC-10 has a few things going for it which most of the Sinclairs lacked - a better keyboard, and a color display.

To keep the price down, the MC-10 has only 4K of RAM, but just like the Sinclairs, an external 16K RAM module ($69.95) can be added, as seen in the pictures here, for a total of 20K of RAM.

While the MC-10 may be superior to the "competition", like them it is too small and limited to be useful for either work or play

Another inexpensive color system, the Mattel Aquarius computer from the same year, sold very poorly as well.

There were just too many new computers in the year 1983, and competition was fierce. The price of older systems was dropping, making them a better deal than the simple micro-computers like the MC-10.
The optional "Low-Cost" TP-10 Thermal Matrix Printer ($129.95) is a nice addition for hardcopy.

Related Links

  • "The TRS-80 MC-10: too little, too late for too much?" from the Classic Computer Magazine Archive
  • Inside the Radio Shack MC-10
  • "My MC-10 Home Page"

  • History of the Radio Shack Computers

    • 1921: - Radio Shack begins as a one-store retail and mail-order company catering to ham operators and electronics buffs.
    • 1963: - Charles Tandy buys the chain of stores, and within two years turned a $4 million dollar loss into a $20 million dollar profit.
    • 1977: August - Radio Shack announces the TRS-80 Model I microcomputer for US$600.
    • 1977: September - One month after launching the TRS-80, 10,000 are sold.
    • 1979: May - Tandy/Radio Shack announces the TRS-80 Model II.
    • 1979: October - Radio Shack begins shipping the TRS-80 Model II to users.
    • 1980: July - Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Model III, priced from US$700 to US$2500.
    • 1980: July - Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Color Computer, and sells for US$400.
    • 1980: July - Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Pocket Computer. Price is US$230.
    • 1981: January - Radio Shack ceases production of the TRS-80 Model I, and recalls units from the US market, due to failure to meet new FCC radio-frequency interference regulations.
    • 1982: January - Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Model 16, with 8-inch floppy drives, and optional 8-MB hard drive.
    • 1982: January - Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Pocket Computer, Model PC-2, for US$280.
    • 1983: March - Radio Shack announces its TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer. Price is US$799 for 8KB version, to US$1134 for the 32KB version.
    • 1983: May - Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Model 4, for US$2000.
    • 1983: October - Tandy/Radio Shack announces the "transportable" TRS-80 Model 4P, for US$1800.
    • 1983: Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Pocket Computer, Model PC-4, replacing the PC-1, for US$70.
    • 1983: Tandy releases the TRS-80 Model 2000, which uses the Intel 80186 microprocessor.
    • 1983: Radio Shack unveils the TRS-80 Model 12 at the CP/M '83 Show. Price is US$3200.
    • 1985: March - Radio Shack introduces the Tandy 6000 multiuser system. It features Z80A and 68000 processors, 512 KB RAM, 80x24 text, graphics, 1.2-MB 8-inch disk, optional 15 MB hard drive, TRS-DOS, or XENIX 3.0. It supports up to 9 users.
      Source: Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers

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