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Tatung History


Tatung was founded in 1918 by Shan-Chih Lin and the name comes from a district of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Tatung's early business was based around steelwork, but by the end of the 1940s it was specializing in electric fans. In the 1960s Tatung expanded into making domestic appliances such as televisions and refrigerators, and also set up a training school which became known as the Tatung Institute of Technology.

In 1973 Tatung moved into computer technology with the Chinese Character Processing Computer Company, and in 1981 opened a branch in the UK to sell televisions, computer monitors and video recorders. W.T. Lin, the manager of Tatung UK, decided Tatung should enter the growing home computer market and assembled a team to develop their machine. Development was carried out at Tatung's laboratory in Bradford and the final product was manufactured at their factory at Telford.

In October 1984 the Tatung Einstein TC-01 was launched. This was a technically impressive machine based around the Z80A microprocessor, with a good quality keyboard, display and sound facilities similar to those of the MSX standard, 80 kilobytes of RAM (16 of which was reserved for the display), a powerful operating system in Xtal DOS, and a built-in floppy disk drive.

There were however problems for the Einstein. Costing £500 it was really too expensive for the home computer market, where the upper price limit seemed to be about £300, and although it would have made a cheap business machine, by late 1984 businesses were standardising on 16-bit computers such as the ACT Apricot and IBM PC. Use of 3 inch disk drives also proved a poor decision since everyone else was using 5¼ inch or the new 3½ inch sizes.

Tatung themselves wrote software for the Einstein but few other software houses took an interest in it and sales of the computer were low. Eventually Tatung gave up on the Einstein and began to produce IBM clones instead.



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