The Texas Instruments Compact Computer 40 or CC-40 was truly a compact, mobile computer, weighing a mere 22 ounces.
Manufactured in 1982 and released on the market in 1983, the battery-operated portable computer was priced at $249 and was powered by four AA batteries or an AC adapter. It was intended as a portable business computer, and uses Texas Instrument’s TMS70C20 CPU, an 8-bit microprocessor that ran at 2.5 MHz.
The CC-40 had 6 kilobytes of RAM (expandable to 18 KB), 34 KB of Read Only Memory and a 31-character LCD display.
Other features, according to the original packaging, included:
- Standard typewriter keyboard layout plus quick-entry numeric keypad and special purpose keys.
- 31-character 5×8 dot matrix LCD that scrolls to show 80-charcter line.
- Built-in enhanced BASIC language.
- ‘Constant Memory’ feature that retained stored information even when the computer was turned off.
In lieu of a feature that stored data, there was no disk or tape drive released with the unit. The promised Wafertape Digital Tape Drive unit that is featured on the computer’s box was never released. The sticker on the box and the note that came with the manual proves this.
The promised Wafertape Digital Tape Drive turned out to be far too unreliable for mass production. Users couldn’t save files to a cassette recorder, like most inexpensive computers, either. The only method of loading files was by inserting a read-only ‘Preprogrammed Solid State Software’ cartridge, though users still couldn’t save any data to them.
It was this inability to store data that led to the possible downfall of the CC in the marketplace.
However, the CC-40 had ports for connecting a printer and a modem. Expansion was to be through a “HexBus” interface, arguably prototypical to USB, providing hot-swappable plug-and-play functionality, according to Wikipedia.
The HexBus interface was also available for the TI-99/4A and was built into the prototype-only TI-99/8.
Software was only available on cartridge, or by typing simple programs into its built-in BASIC interpreter.
In March of 1984, Texas Instruments stopped manufacturing all its computers and dropped out of the computer market for good.
The MuMoH physical collection includes the original packaging and unit, still sealed.