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The Tatung Einstein home computer was designed in Bradford and assembled in Tatung factories in Bridgnorth and Telford (UK) - it was then released in the summer of 1984 (with 5,000 being exported back to Taipei later that year).

The computer was based on the Zilog Z80A processor (running at 4Mhz) with 64K RAM and 16K video memory, providing 256x192 graphics with up to 16 colours. 

The computer had a built in 3" disk drive and optionally you could add a Tatung branded monitor (colour or monochrome) and dot matrix printer.

The computer could be upgraded with external disk drives and an 80 column display card, and was even capable of emulating the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (48K) with an add-on called 'Speculator'.

Costing £499 it was seen as expensive and proved to be somewhat of a commercial disaster. A later, revised version (the Tatung Einstein 256) suffered a similar fate.

An unusual feature of the Einstein was that on start-up the computer entered a simple machine code monitor, called MOS (Machine Operating System). A variety of software could then be loaded from disk, including a CP/M-compatible operating system called Xtal DOS (pronounced 'Crystal DOS'), created by Crystal Computers in Torquay, and a BASIC interpreter (Xtal BASIC).

Thanks to the reliability of the machine, and ample memory, the machine actually found a niche market in being used by many software houses for programming, and then porting the code to the machines they were made for (such as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and Commodore C64 computers).

For more information - visit the Einstein Community.

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