The list below shows many of the most popular or significant home computers of the late 1970s and of the 1980s.
The most popular home computers in the USA up to 1985 were: the TRS-80 (1977), various models of the Apple II family (first introduced in 1977), the Atari 400/800 (1979) along with its follow up models the 800XL and 130XE, and the Commodore VIC-20 (1980) and the Commodore 64 (1982). The VIC was the first computer of any type to sell over one million units, and the 64 is still the highest-selling single model of personal computer ever, with over 17 million produced before production stopped in 1994 – a 12-year run with only minor changes.
In Europe the situation was slightly different, as many of the British made systems like Sinclair’s ZX81 and Spectrum, and later the Amstrad/Schneider CPC were generally much cheaper in Europe than US systems (such as the Atari and Apple models). The reverse was also true, as popular British systems like the Spectrum never became popular in the US, like the ill-fated Timex Sinclair 2068. The result was that these British systems were much more popular in Europe than in the USA, the only notable exception being the Commodore 64 (C64), which competed favorably price-wise with the British systems, and was the most popular system in Europe as in the USA.
Until the introduction of the IBM PC in 1981, computers such as the Apple II and TRS 80 also found considerable use in office work.
(For a comprehensive overview of home computers, i.e. not just the most notable ones given below, see the List of home computers.)
Three microcomputers were the prototypes for what would later become the home computer market segment; but when introduced they sold as much to hobbyists and small businesses as to the home.
• June 1977: Apple II (North America) (color graphics, eight expansion slots; one of the first computers to use a typewriter-like plastic case design.)
• August 1977: Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 (N. Am.) (first home computer for less than US$600) (used a dedicated monitor for FCC rules compliance).
• December 1977: Commodore PET (N. Am.) (first all-in-one computer: keyboard/screen/tape storage)
The following computers were also typical of the home computer segment:
• 1979: Atari 400/800 (N. Am.) (first computer with custom chip set and programmable video chip and built-in audio output)
• 1979: TI-99/4 (first home computer with a 16-bit processor)
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