Saturday, December 24, 2016

40 years ago: As the Altair 8800 sparked an IT revolution

40 years ago: As the Altair 8800 sparked an IT revolution

The first home computer put a significant foundation for the microcomputer revolution

In the first week of December 1974, the world of the "First Minicomputer Kit" Altair 8800. This provided for hobbyists a valuable model which could easily be compared with the expensive commercial competition from DEC, Data General, Wang and other manufacturers at the time. The idea of the Altair 8800 came from the American magazine Popular Electronics, which dealt with the designs of the 33-year-old engineer Edward Roberts.

The Altair 8800

But it was not the first of it's kind

The presentation of the small computer - the term microcomputer did not exist - was created from the competition of the New York-based magazine for hobby electronics. In their issue of July 1974 Radio-Electronics had already introduced the Mark-8 from the student Jonathan A. Titus, a kit for an 8-bit computer with the Intel 8008. However, the parts sent by post were not complete and other components had to be purchased in addition.

Popular Electronics learned from this lesson and made it much better.

$ 498 for the complete computer

Roberts was the owner of MITS, which established calculator in Albuquerque. The design of the engineer selected an Intel 8080 chip together with a drawer large computer memory and 256 bytes. The pre-assembled computer could be purchased for the cost of $ 498, for the kit you had to pay $ 397. For the technique Roberts was responsible, the choice of name came from the editors of Popular Electronics.

The Edition January 1975

Trigger for microcomputer revolution

The named the computer ado Altair 8800, the name should underline the star quality of the computer because the Altair belongs to the most famous stars in the orbit. In the January- February issue readers of Popular Electronics received detailed information about the computer. By writing the articles Roberts company MITS received thousands of orders, retrospectively we can say the Altair was the trigger of the microcomputer revolution.

And then there was Microsoft

A certain Harvard student named Bill Gates at that time also received the January-issue from his friend Paul Allen. Together with the known Monte Davidoff the three students developed a BASIC interpreter, which was acquired in July 1975 by MITS

This was the arose of a company in 1976 called Microsoft.