Bill Cosby Loves the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A

The Texas Instruments TI-99/4A was an early home computer, released in June 1981, for around $525. It was an enhanced version of the less-successful TI-99/4 model, which was released in late 1979. Think of all the comic gold Bill might have written on his TI? That bit about the chocolate cake? His dentist jokes? You can only dream.

bill cosby for texas instruments

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Garry Vander Voort

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4 thoughts on “Bill Cosby Loves the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A

  1. Jason K. says:

    Man, Bill is behind a lot of my favorite things from my childhood….Texas Instruments, Picture Pages, Jello Pudding Pops, Fat Albert……..

  2. Ugly American says:

    “The Texas Instruments TI-99/4A was an early home computer, released in June 1981, originally at a price of USD $525. It was an enhanced version of the less-successful—and quite rare—TI-99/4 model, which was released in late 1979 at a price of $1,150.”

    “TI quickly found itself engaged in a price war, particularly with Commodore International, and was forced to lower the computer’s price in order to compete. By August 1982, the computer was still losing shelf space. TI offered a $100 rebate, which caused spokesman Bill Cosby to quip about how easy it was to sell a computer if you paid people $100 to buy one.

    In February 1983, TI lowered the price to $150 and was selling the computers at a loss. And in June 1983, TI released a redesigned beige cost-reduced version that it sold, also at a loss, for $99. TI lost $100 million in the second quarter of 1983 and $330 million in the third quarter. In October 1983, TI announced it was exiting the home computer business. The 99/4A became the first in a series of home computers to be ‘orphaned’ by their manufacturer over the next few years, along with the Coleco Adam, Mattel Aquarius, Timex Sinclair 1000 and IBM PCjr.”
    – wikipedia

    I knew a girl who’s father, having worked in a lab with a TI minicomputer insisted on buying the 4a at full price, thinking it a bargin and then watched in horror as the price crashed and they ended up sold for $150 with a $100 rebate.

    The voice synth was very cool until SAM came out on the C64 but the 4a was always terribly slow and overpriced because TI took an expensive CPU based on a minicomputer and then crippled it with not enough RAM to keep prices down.

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