This little device can be considered (and is, by many) the forerunner of today's laptop class of computers. It's simple compared to "modern" laptops but contains many features that make it a very useful machine.
The Tandy 100 features a basic word processor/text manipulator, scheduler, "address book", and telecomms package in ROM as well as a full featured BASIC. These features, alone, make it a capable machine even in today's cut-throat marketplace. In addition, there is a capability to load (and write, if one has the proper software) machine language code for native execution. It'll also run for about twenty hours on 4 easily replacable "AA" batteries.
The basic machine is based around a CMOS variant of the Intel 8085 microprocessor supporting an eight bit wide word and a 64 kb address space. As in the ISC 8001 half of the 64 kb memory space is reserved for ROM space, the other half for RAM. BASIC, the "schedule", "address", and telecomms programs are resident in ROM. An option for an additional bank-switched ROM chip is also offered.
As delivered from the manufacturer (Kyocera), the system came complete with a built-in modem of 300 bps speed, either connectable via acoustic coupler or direct telco means, and a cassette- recorder interface. A bar code reader port is standard as well, though software to drive same is absent in the stock machine.
I have two of these machines; one I bought in 1986 (or so), the other I "rescued" from the dumpster when its life as a precision scale controller had come to an end (following a mains surge that knocked out its power supply). Both have served me with distinction in various endeavours, and continue to do so.
In fact, one of them travelled halfway across a continent with me to handle E-mail while I was collecting my Interdata Model 4 and PDP-8/I . It worked flawlessly, allowing me to send and receive mail via its' internal modem. It even gracefully tolerates motel- room telephone connections. I've also used it to "surf the web" using the Lynx browser (whilst logged into a UNIX box).
Perhaps less well known is the fact that the Tandy Model 100 shares a kindred
link with the Mars Pathfinder
- the 80C85 microprocessor!