The 99/8 was intended as an upmarket companion to the TI 99/4A . Something
like a small business computer. However, at TI they didn't think it
would generate any income, so it was never released.
It has built-in features which were optional in the 4A : The speech synthesiser and the Pascal UCSD ROM card. It is a prototype computer and was never marketed.
Very interesting information from CC Clarke
As a young electronic technician at TI, I labored in the "trenches" during the Home Computer Wars of the early eighties. It was brutal. Our 99/4A was technologically superior to the Comodore 64, but was marketed against the VIC 20 in price.
The 99/8 (codenamed: Roadrunner) was supposed to remedy that situation. It was more advanced, cheaper to produce, (the bottom line was ALWAYs the decisive factor in corporate decision-making) and used the existing TI HexBus interface, touted as the emerging interface standard at TI. Unfortunately, TI got a very bloody nose when it voluntarily recalled thousands of 99/4A AC transformers due to a perceived fusing issue.
Thousands of 99/8s were built and warehoused (before being destroyed) after it was discovered they couldn't meet FCC EMI specs without expensive design changes.
In 1982/83, TI was losing more money in their Lubbock Consumer Products Division than they could justify. and the 99/8's problems made it cheaper to bury than bring to market. A few escaped and are considered collector's items.
The Myarc Geneve was not a "clone" of the 99/8. It used the same CPU, but absent were the Hex Bux interface, built-in speech, and the built-in USCD Pascal system. It also used a totally different operating system. People have compared it to the 99/8 but it''s in no way a "clone" of the 99/8.
Dan you are right. I knew a few members of the North Jersey TI Users club that had them. Myarc was based in Basking Ridge, NJ and it was called the Geneve. Some used the PE box or a PC case to hose the parts. I know that at least one was still in use in the late 1990s.
Tuesday 8th November 2011
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