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The Tandyvision One

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PORTABLE WP's

Early  Zilog CPU based

application notebooks,

ROM based units.

 

LASER PC4/5

Brother PN-4400/8500

QuickPAD

NEC 8300

Amstrad NC-100/200

Citizen CBM-10WP

GAME UNITS

Game consoles by Tandy,

and Intellivision

Tandyvison One

Mattel Aquarius

 

HANDHELD PC's

The PDA had arrived with

Casio's Tandy entry.

 

Tandy Zoomer

 

By Glen VanDenBiggelaar
 

First

Released:  1979                                                 

CPU: General Instruments

CP1610

Clock speed: 3.579545 MHz

Stic: (Standard Television

Interface Chip): General

Instruments AY-3-8900

System Ram: GI RA-3-9600

Sound Chip:  GI AY-3-8914   

GROM: GI RO-3-9503 2K

ROM

GRAM :2 GTE 3539 256-

byte static RAM chips

Executive ROM: In the Intellivision, the Executive ROM is physically two 2K chips, a GI

RO-3-9502 and a GI RO-3-9504; in the Intellivision II it is a single 4K GI RO-3-9506 chip.

SCRATCHPAD RAM: GTE 3539 256-by-8-bit static

Resolution: 160 X 96

 

(Glen's Note: Most of the information contained in this article was supplied by the Bluesky

Rangers and the Intellivision lives website. The Blue Sky Rangers were the original

programming team for Mattel and the Intellivision)

 

In my opinion, no web site can pay homage to Tandy, if we don't recognize the

TANDYVISION ONE. Everyone seems to overlook this very important piece of video game

history. OK, its no Model 4, but if not for Mattel and their partnerships with Tandy, Sears

and GTE, computers and the home video game market would not be where they are

today. If any one has any more information on the history of the TV1 e-mail me, and I will

post it. The sad part is one one really knows what HAPPENED. Obviously Tandy had

plans to release more than one Tandyvision, but they never had a TV2. Speculation is

that after the keyboard fiasco (more on that later) Tandy lost all confidence in Mattel.

Maybe Tandy got wind of the Aquarius and just ran for the hills. No matter, the

Tandyvision still remains a small part of Tandy's great history.

 

In 1977 Mattel wanted to get in the video game market, they wanted a cheap, "off the

shelf" video game solution that was expandable, and they found it with General

Instrument's Gimini 6900 system which could be built with off the shelf GI chips. After 2

years and several design changes later, The Intellivision was born. Mattel then turned

around and sold the rights to Tandy, under the name Tandyvision One, Sears, under the

name of the Sears Super Video Arcade, and GTE/ Sylvania under the Intellivision name.

The only differences between the four units was cosmetic and Sears actually redesigned

the outer case. An interesting sidebar is that Sear re-packaged all the games, while Tandy

Chose not to.

 

 

 

The original Mattel Master Component #2609

 

The Keyboard Component #1149

 

CodeName: Black Whale

CPU: General Instruments CP 6502

Clock speed: Unknown

System Ram: 64K of dual dynamic

port Ram

Number of units produced: 4000

 

This was the reason why many people

bought the Intellivision. Mattel was

promoting that this was not a toy like

the Atari 2600, It was the basis of a

Home Computer system. Uniting the

Tandyvision with the Keyboard,

changed the system into a 16 bit

power house. The biggest obstacle was

the price. Mattel promised that the cost

would be only $199 US, but the cost to produce 1 unit was reportedly over $700. People

started to complain to the FCC and Mattel started to trickle units out to select stores and to

people who complained (at a huge loss to Mattel)  through mail order. The thermal

printer was only available mail order; this was apparently the same printer (except for the

nameplate) that later received somewhat wider release as part of the Aquarius system.

Several programs on cassettes were available; some (Conversational French, Jack

LaLanne's Physical Conditioning, Spelling Challenge, Jeane Dixon Astrology) were

programmed in 1610 assembly language and took full advantage of the Intellivision

system sound and graphics, others were more limited BASIC programs (Geography

Challenge, Family Budgeting, Crosswords I, II & III) that required a BASIC cartridge to be

plugged into the game port. With the BASIC cartridge, the user could also write his or her

own programs.


Finally, in mid-1982, the FTC ordered Mattel to pay a monthly fine (said to be $10,000)

until the Keyboard was in wide distribution. Mattel was forced to go with its back-up plan:it

released instead the Entertainment Computer System (ECS) that had been quietly

developed by a different division. Although less powerful than the Keyboard Component,

it minimally offered what had originally been promised: to turn the Intellivision into a

computer. It was sufficient (along with an offer to buy back all outstanding Keyboards) to

get the FTC off Mattel's back.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(c) 2004, 2005 Brian K. Hahn

 All Rights Reserved.