Was the Model I ever sold as a kit?
Some have claimed that Radio Shack offered the Model I as a kit before selling it as a fully-assembled computer. This is not true. From the very beginning, the TRS-80 was only sold fully assembled. There was never any TRS-80 kit option in any Radio Shack catalog. From the original August 3, 1977 press release:
The latest development in electronics for the home, according to Radio Shack, is a complete, low-cost microcomputer system.
Just introduced by the nationwide electronics store chain is the new Radio Shack TRS-80 Microcomputer System. Not a kit, the TRS-80 comes completely wired and tested, ready to plug in and use.
Here’s another quote from Radio Shack Introduces the World of Computing, a 1977 book that attempted to gently introduce potential customers to computers:
Q. I’m a layman when it comes to electronics. Does the TRS-80 require any wiring or soldering at all?
A. No! Each component of this system is 100% assembled and tested. Some microcomputers require assembly and soldering, but not the TRS-80.