Commodore 710/720

Commodore was never satisfied by dominating the home computer market only and therefore new successors of the legendary PET were presented. Commodore 710 and 720 were able to use most the add-ons available for the C64/VIC20 but had a better basic and 80 chars per line. Unfortunately IBM quickly succeeded with their PC in the office and the Commodore computer were less successfull.

Commodore SX64

A new C64 model was presented in January. The SX64 was transportable, with an integrated 5" colour monitor and 5.25" disk drive. This derivation of the C64 was not very successfull as it wasn't independent from the socket. The SX64 was also quite heavy - 10.5 kg!

Apple Lisa

ApplesĀ“ first try to construct a computer with a graphical environment was Lisa. Apple bought the license for a graphical environment from the inventors Rank Xerox before. Lisa had a 5 MHz 68000 CPU, 1 MB ram and a 12" monochrome display. This increased the price and most people who have saw Apple's machine in action were not very satisfied - Lisa was slow. The introduction price was 10000 US dollar and Apple put great hopes in this machine - the development cost were about 150 million US dollar.

Lisa was a flop. Apple sold about 100000 units and survived again only because of the good salaries of the Apple 2. A year later they introduced the Macintosh a much better Lisa.


CreatiVision was one of the unfortunate consoles which failed because of the crash. The system was not a pure console, you could extend it with a cassette recorder and the two controllers contained the membrane keyboard. The CreatiVision could not compete with the new home computers and although an external keyboard was available to replace the original one the system failed completely.

Atari VCS5200

Another system without a chance: the VCS5200. The system was more or less an Atari XL without a keyboard and some excellent Arcade games were produced. The VCS was not compatible to the XL or VCS2600 and Atari quickly gave up the system. The VCS5200 is a rare item but people often talk about it as a super system.

Atari XL

Ataris second new system, the XL, had a much better start. The 600XL and 800XL were the sucessors of the Atari 400/800. A new case and a lot of fine tuning were done but the systems were still compatible to their predecessors. Although the graphics/sound chips were still from 1979 the XL computers were in some parts superior to other systems like the C64. But the XL never gained the same popularity as the C64 although it proved to be very popular in the States. Many cult games were developed on the Atari first and then ported to other systems. Later, an increasement of pirate copies changed the mind of many game companies: legendary games like Ballblazer or M.U.L.E. sold only about 4000 copies although almost anyone owned the game.

There were other models of the XL series. The most interesting one was the 1450XLD which is an extremely rare computer. By that time, everyone was convinced that a computer has to speak and therefore Atari integrated a speech synthesizer. The integrated 5.25 inch disk drive made the computer quite huge and even a modem was included. Atari soon dropped the 1450XLD but speech support is still built in all XL computers - only the hardware is missing.

MS-Windows/MS-DOS 2.0

Microsoft announced Microsoft Windows for April 1984 . One year before the program was called Interface Manager but was later renamed to Windows. IBM was not very interested and developed their own inferface called TopDesk. More interesting was MS-DOS 2.0 which was delivered with the IBM-XT. The main improvements were the support for 10 MB hard disks and 360KB disk drives.


(October)IBM dominated the professional computer market but they weren't satisfied. There was much money in the home computer market so it was only a question of time until IBM developed a home computer. The PCjr, also called "Peanut" by IBM engineers, was available for about 2000 US-$ and was based upon the popular IBM-PC. An infrared keyboard which often refused to work and one disk drive were delivered with the PCjr. Soon after the release IBM offered a replacement keyboard for free. However, the PCjr became one of the biggest desasters for IBM. They only made losses with this computer but worse was the damage that the company name IBM took from the PCjr.

There are a lot of quotes from enthousiastic software companies like Sierra which supported the PCjr.


Microsoft, the American company SpectraVideo and 14 Asian companies announced the MSX standard. The aim was to create a standard for home computers just like there was a standard for video recorders. Some machines were already available in 1984 others followed in 1984.

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