Datapoint's Computer Terminal 2200 #2
San Antonio company took an early lead in creating the first personal desktop computer
Before Apple, Dell, and Compaq, there was the Computer Terminal Corporation. The San Antonio-based company, begun in 1968 by former NASA engineers Phil Ray and Gus Roche, took the lead in creating the first personal desktop computer. The company's Datapoint 2200 #2 was a standalone computer terminal that performed a number of functions including printing payroll checks, tracking inventory, and recording shipments. This unit had a memory capacity of 16 kilobytes, roughly enough memory to hold a four page text document.
Designers Phil Ray and Gus Roche sought to reinvent the way data was inputted into massive mainframe computers by creating a small, sleek computer terminal that was connected to the larger mainframe storage computer. The product was named Datapoint 3300, a title that begat a new company name and began the personal computer revolution. The fledging company, now known as Datapoint, raced to the front of the desktop personal computer line with the 1970 introduction of its second system, the Datapoint 2200. Weighing 40 pounds, the unit had its own screen, keyboard, memory, and processor.
Datapoint went on to develop other PC products, including telephone directory software, word processing programs, and electronic mail functions. Its Attached Resource Computer (ARC) was the first of what became known in the industry as LAN (Local Area Network). Datapoint marketed its line of products to corporations who could link the technologies together to create an Integrated Electronic Office, an "office of the future" where typewriters, filing cabinets, telephones, and mailroom would all be replaced with electronic devices that could be operated from a single terminal.
Courtesy San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology
Time Period: 1971 - Present
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