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IBM Hardware

IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too 178

Posted by timothy
from the which-path-did-you-follow? dept.
McGruber writes "Like the Mac, the IBM PC Junior first went on sale in late January 1984. That is where the similarities end — the PC Junior became the biggest PC dud of all time. Back on May 17, 1984, the NY Times reported that the PC Junior 'is too expensive for casual home users, but, at the same time, is not nearly powerful enough for serious computer users who can afford a more capable machine.' The article also quoted Peter Norton, then still a human programmer who had not yet morphed into a Brand, who said that the PC Junior 'may well be targeted at a gray area in the market that just does not exist.'' IBM cancelled the machine in March 1985, after only selling 270,000 of them. While it was a commercial flop, the machine is still liked by some. Michael Brutman's PCJr page attempts to preserve the history and technical information of the IBM PCjr and YouTube has a video of a PC Junior running a demo."
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IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too

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  • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:26AM (#46090809)

    I think people were most offended by the artificial limitations. Most computer companies were pushing their hardware to its limits in order to stay competitive, and here comes a PC with nice hardware that is artificially gimped to protect the more expensive products. It's one thing to be limited by engineering - quite another to be limited my marketing. With a typical product, you can subjectively debate the relative value - but in this case, marketing handed you a concrete, objective list of items that you were not getting for your money.

  • Had one. Liked it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:38AM (#46090897) Homepage Journal
    I had one, and I really liked it. It lacked DMA on the floppy drive so things were a bit slower during a file load or save. It only had one bay. Otherwise, it was basically the same as the PC (my dad had a low-serial-number model 5150). It had a couple more graphics modes than the standard VGA, enabling a lot of games to use 16 colors rather than 4. Nobody I knew ever used the "sidecar" bus for anything worthwhile.
  • PCjr and the Crash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pentomino (129125) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:52AM (#46091013) Homepage Journal

    I attended a panel of veteran video game programmers from the Phoenix area a few years ago. They asserted that the PCjr had a greater role in the video game crash of 1984 than people realize. Many software companies bought into IBM's hype that the PCjr would dominate the market, and put a lot of resources into PCjr development, and ended up going bankrupt when the PCjr failed.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:34PM (#46091419)

    Whats so special about 30th anniversary? Is 30 some kind of magic number?

    I believe in western culture that 25th anniversary is a special celebration for married couples, (silver) and also 50th (gold)
    And some cultures have special significance of 15th bithday, and/or 21st birthday

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:47PM (#46091571)

    Wizardry being dark, and scary encounters.

    What I remember most from Ultima was agonizing over the start questions :)
    http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/562... [gamefaqs.com]
    http://www.tk421.net/ultima/ [tk421.net]
    http://www.beastwithin.org/use... [beastwithin.org]

  • Re:Not that bad. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:11PM (#46091803) Homepage Journal

    By the way, the video above shows the second generation keyboard. The infamous "chiclet [google.com]" keboard had no labels on the keycaps. The letter labels were on the surface of the keyboard between rows of keys, in order to permit overlays. That was a clever idea, but it wasn't going to fly in an era where mechanical switch keyboards were the norm.

    Of course today crummy keyboards are the norm; I bet the second generation PCJr keyboard beats what most people are using these days.

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