This early computer was a made in 1979 and released in the USA in 1981. It cost $525 ($1,383 adjusted for inflation) and the improved version was at a price of $1,150 ($3,795 adjusted for inflation). TI-99/4A had better graphics than the than the VIC-20.
The CPU was a TI-TMS9900, 3.0 MHz, 16-bit, 64-pin DIP.
It was the first personal computer with a 16-bit processor, soon got a cult following, but also lacked third-party development and compatible add-ons from other firms.
Many clones and copies were made for a few years afterwards buy some other firms once it was officially discontinued by Texas Instruments.
- All peripherals were plunged directly into the right-hand side of the unit.
- The 48-key keyboard layout does not match that of a typewriter.
- There is no option for an 80-column display.
It got involved in a 1979-1983 price war with the Comadore Vic 20, Apple II and TRS-80. TI could not make a profit on the TI-99/4A at a price of $99, but hoped that selling many inexpensive computers would increase sales of more profitable software and peripherals.
- TI-99/2, a 4K RAM, 32K ROM computer with no color, sound, or joystick port and a Mylar keyboard. TI designed the computer in four and one half months to sell for under $100 and compete with the Sinclair ZX81 and Timex Sinclair 1000. Based on the TMS9995 CPU running at 10.7 MHz and with a built-in RF modulator, performance greatly increased when the screen was blank. The University of Southwestern Louisiana developed system software. 99/2 software ran on the 99/4A, but not vice versa. Working prototypes appeared at the January 1983 Consumer Electronic Show (CES). Home-computer prices declined so quickly, however, that by mid-1983 the 99/4A sold for $99. The company canceled the 99/2 in April 1983, but planned to exhibit it at the June CES until other companies' press conferences there indicated that competition would increase.
- TI-99/8 and 99/6 The 99/8 reportedly had a $200 wholesale price. Privately shown to dealers but not announced at June CES, and formally canceled in October 1983. With 64 kB of RAM expandable to 15 megabytes, larger keyboard, built-in speech synthesis, built-in Pascal operating environment with UCSD Pascal and the full 16-bit data bus available on the expansion port. Designed by Texas Instruments, but abandoned in the prototype stage. Some prototypes are known to exist. In addition, the emulator MESS is capable of running what are believed to be the system's ROMs.