What did TRS-80 stand for?

written by Matthew Reed

The name TRS-80 stood for two things:

  • TRS stood for Tandy Radio Shack, the company that created the TRS-80.
  • 80 was taken from the Zilog Z80, the processor used in the original TRS-80 Model I.

Tandy continued to use the TRS-80 name for their future computers, even for ones that didn’t use a Z80. For example:

  • the TRS-80 Color Computer 1 used a Motorola 6809
  • the TRS-80 Model 16 used both a Z80 and a Motorola 68000
  • the TRS-80 Model 100 used an Intel 8085
  • the TRS-80 Model 2000 used an Intel 80186

Of course, it is true that an 80 was present in the other processor names as well.

There were unfounded rumors that the Color Computer would be labeled a TRS-90. Those rumors were so common at the time that Ed Juge, director of computer merchandising at Radio Shack, said they almost chose “TRS-90” as the code name for the Color Computer!

Tandy phased out the TRS-80 name after the TRS-80 Model 2000, presumably in an attempt to improve their image. (Trash-80, a corruption of TRS-80, was commonly used as an insult.)

As an interesting footnote, two Model I clones, the PMC-80 and the LNW-80, also had meanings to their acronyms:

  • PMC stood for Personal Micro Computers, the name of the company that distributed the PMC-80.
  • LNW stood for the names of the company founders: Gene Lu, Michael Norton, and Ken Woog
Categories: FAQ


umberto kealoha says:

Is there any truth to the idea that Texas Instruments (which uses the Z80 in its TI-83 series calculators) bought out a large inventory of these chips when Tandy closed or stopped using the chips and went on to maximize there usage inside these very popular graphing calculators?

Melfina Coend says:

Don’t call it trash! I used that computer in my younger years and loved it! I was using TRS-80 Color Computer 2.

Mark McDougall says:

I think “trash” was generally used ‘lovingly’ by TRS-80 enthusiasts, as much as it was used as an insult by other computer enthusiasts. That was my experience anyway.

Funnily enough, although I heard it used in TRS-80 Model I/III/4 ‘circles’, I never heard it used in Coco circles. So I think you’re safe Melfina! ;)

Deborah Oakley says:

Calling it the “Trash-80” was just *too* easy…just sort of rolled off the tongue. After all, cassette tape for data storage? OMG! I held out a few years until hard drives became *somewhat* affordable (if you call 2 grand 10 megabytes “somewhat”)….