[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Bill Cosby Loves the TI CC-40

July 15th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Texas Instruments TI CC-40 Compact Computer 40 Bill Cosby Ad - 1983“Try new metal puddin’ pops!”

When looking at the Texas Instruments CC-40’s capabilities, one wonders why companies even bothered in making tiny portable machines like this one (see also the Epson HX-20, HP-75C, and TRS-80 Pocket Computer, among others) in the early 1980s.

Sure, each one came equipped with a gee-whiz wow factor, but most of these diminutive PCs proved impractical to actually use. Limited memory, restrictive and unreliable data storage, and tiny LCDs capable of displaying either one or a few lines of text almost ensured that these products would remain technological novelties.

(As an aside, the only computer of this circa-1983 portable class that I find to be practical and truly useful was the TRS-80 Model 100, which many journalists relied on for decades)

After giving the question considerable thought, I recently realized why they did it. Companies like TI spent untold millions upon millions of dollars on R&D, design, tooling, and production, distribution, and marketing so that collectors of vintage computers, like me, would one day have more and varied specimens to collect.

To those companies, I say this: Thank you for wasting your money to make my hobby more fun.

See Also: Bill Cosby Fondles a TI-99/4A (Retro Scan, 2006)

[ From Popular Computing, June 1983, p.129 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the smallest vintage computer you’ve ever used?

5 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Bill Cosby Loves the TI CC-40”

  1. Dennis Says:

    I had a friend who had a CC-40 that his dad had given him (passed down from work, apparently). He let me borrow it over the summer and I had quite a bit of fun playing around with it myself. But it was horribly limited — the best you do was write some TI-BASIC programs with it. No graphics support, no way to save (at least the one I was using didn’t have any way to save) to external storage — this was basically a fancier calculator.

    Still was fun to play with, though. It was pretty cool to have a computer, however limited, that could go anywhere.

  2. Jim Carpenter Says:

    This was the first computer my grandfather owned and was his introduction to programming. I used to tinker with it but I can’t imagine using it as anything but a programmable calculator, which is exactly what my grandfather used it for.

  3. Daniel Says:

    The smallest vintage computer I ever owned was a Radio Shack Pocket computer 2 (which I believe was manufactured by Sharp). I used it mostly as a programmable calculator. I still own a TRS-80 model 100, which I use as a portable terminal to log into some old telecom equipment at work.

  4. arlandi Says:

    but up to 200 hours of service using regular AA batteries!!!

  5. Ant Says:

    I didn’t know he did that. I thought he only did 99/4A which my parents bought me as my first home computer.

Leave a Reply