Home Computer - Notable Home Computers

Notable Home Computers

For more details on home computer models, see List of home computers.

The time line below describes 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. A few British Sinclair models were sold for low prices in the US by Timex Corporation, such as the Timex Sinclair 1000 and 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. The Commodore PET had a sizable presence in the North American education market until that was largely ceded to the Apple II as Commodore focused on the C-64's success in the mass retail market.

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