The 99/8 was intended as an upmarket companion to the TI 99/4A . Something
like a small business computer. However, at TI they didn't think it
would generate any income, so it was never released.
It has built-in features which were optional in the 4A : The speech synthesiser and the Pascal UCSD ROM card. It is a prototype computer and was never marketed.
Very interesting information from CC Clarke
As a young electronic technician at TI, I labored in the "trenches" during the Home Computer Wars of the early eighties. It was brutal. Our 99/4A was technologically superior to the Comodore 64, but was marketed against the VIC 20 in price.
The 99/8 (codenamed: Roadrunner) was supposed to remedy that situation. It was more advanced, cheaper to produce, (the bottom line was ALWAYs the decisive factor in corporate decision-making) and used the existing TI HexBus interface, touted as the emerging interface standard at TI. Unfortunately, TI got a very bloody nose when it voluntarily recalled thousands of 99/4A AC transformers due to a perceived fusing issue.
Thousands of 99/8s were built and warehoused (before being destroyed) after it was discovered they couldn't meet FCC EMI specs without expensive design changes.
In 1982/83, TI was losing more money in their Lubbock Consumer Products Division than they could justify. and the 99/8's problems made it cheaper to bury than bring to market. A few escaped and are considered collector's items.
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