TRS-80 Fragmentation

Fred Cisin cisin at
Thu Apr 26 23:02:29 CDT 2018

On Fri, 27 Apr 2018, W2HX via cctalk wrote:
> All that "fragmentation" to me was wonderful. Different models, 
> different capabilities it was magical!

There are two different interpretations of "fragmentation".
Both are implicitly negative.
"Any color you want, as long as it is black" (1909) saves the company a 
LOT of money, by only having one model.

1) Overlapping product lines.  Such as Toyota Corolla and Camry, or 
Honda Civic and Accord, or TRS80 Model 1 and 2, or model 1 and Coco, or 
Model 100 and pocket computer(s).
Company competes against itself, and can never manage to claim "best 
selling model".

2) TOO diverse.  Such as Toyota Prius and Diesel Tundra pickup, or Honda 
Unicub/U3x and Ridgeline, or Coco and Model 16
Company has to support too many different things, and might not ever 
develop the expertise in some of the lines.

(The Honda N600 that I mentioned earlier was a motorcycle engine and 
transmission design.  The previous S600/S800 was two seater sports car 
(looked British), with dual overhead cam, roller crank, roller wrist pins, 
roller distributor shaft bushings, etc. At more than 9.5K redline, it got 
60+HP out of 600cc/36cubic-inch.  And constant tinkering.  Meanwhile, the 
Toyota S800 looked similar, but had essentially a lawnmower engine.)

There is a fine line between not having what a specific customer needs V 
making them make choices.

Radio Shack made some mistakes.  Ranging from not having the 80x24 and 
full memory management for CP/M in the Model 1 (not fixed until Model 
FOUR), to not having a "100% compatible" PC quickly enough.  They were not 
the only ones to think that making a "better" compatible machine would be 
preferable to making a clone.  (cf. DEC Rainbow, Sirius/Victor 9000, TI 
I don't know why the company went under.  I doubt that their computer line 
was the sole cause.

They had a good run, and we are the better for having experienced it.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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