Posts tagged with “Alpha Products”
The TRS‑80 Model I, unlike some other contemporary computers, offered no way to install expansion cards internally. The Model I did have an expansion bus connector which allowed users to attach external hardware devices, such as the Radio Shack Expansion Interface. But the single connector meant that only one hardware device could be attached to a Model I at a time.
One of the most famous TRS‑80 companies was Alpha Products. If you called technical support at Alpha Products after 1984, you probably spoke to Kevin Tschudi. While working there from 1981 to 1991, he wrote the VS-100 Talker software and Newclock-80 drivers and co-designed the A-Bus system.
In this interview, conducted in August 2011, he talks about his experiences at Alpha Products.
The Alpha Products VS-100 was a popular voice synthesizer for the TRS‑80, selling thousand of units. Introduced in 1983 by Alpha Products for a price of $69.95, the VS-100 was available for the TRS‑80 Model I, Model III, Model 4, and also the Color Computer. Alpha Products lowered the price of the VS-100 several times; it was reduced to $49.95 in 1985 and $24.95 in 1987.
The VS-100 was a 3″ by 5″ unit that connected to the expansion port of the Model I, Model III, or Model 4.
The Newclock-80 was a clock/calendar add-on for the TRS‑80 released by Alpha Products in 1983. It replaced their TIMEDATE 80 clock/calendar but remained software compatible with it.
The Newclock-80 plugged into the expansion bus and required no hardware modifications. The price was $59.95 for both the Model I and Model III versions, a significant reduction from the $95 price of the TIMEDATE 80. The Model III version also worked on the Model 4.
The March 1981 Alpha Products advertisement featured the first appearance of the DOUBLE-STICK-80. This package included two joysticks, interface, and demo game for $59.95.
The first commercial joystick for the TRS‑80, the STICK-80, was created by Alpha Products (originally Alpha Product Co.). The first advertisement I can find was in the December 1980 issue of 80 Microcomputing. The STICK-80 package included an Atari joystick and interface and originally cost $29.95.
In October 1981, Alpha Products created a new version of their joystick which included a mode switch to allow a choice between the STICK-80 and TRISSTICK FIRE button behavior. The advertisements from then on referred to the joystick as the Alpha Joystick, and the price remained at $39.95.