Monday, November 24, 2008

The Datapoint 2200

The Datapoint 2200 was a mass-produced programmable terminal announced by Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) in June, 1970 (with units shipping in 1971). It was intended by its designers simply to be a versatile, cost-efficient terminal for connecting to a wide variety of mainframes by loading various terminal emulations from tape rather than being hardwired as most terminals were. However, enterprising users in the business sector (including Pillsbury Foods) realized that this so-called "programmable terminal" was equipped to perform any task a simple computer could, and exploited this fact by using their 2200s as standalone computer systems. Equally significant is the fact that the terminal's CPU (processor) was the embryo of the x86 instruction set architecture, which powered the original IBM PC and has powered all of its descendants since.

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