"When the NewBrain was announced to the world, in 1980, the design concept was significantly in advance of anything that had been seen in the field of handheld computing." (Dick Pountain - Personal Computer World)
In fact, the company that created it, Newburry Labs, sold the desing to its current owner, Grundy Business Systems Ltd.
It also seems that a small part of the original design came from Sinclair Radionics which designed later the ZX-80.
At one time, the NewBrain was in line to be the BBC computer, but design problems and the change in ownership caused the BBC to look elsewhere.
In 1982, the machine was advertised as a compact but powerful microcomputer with advanced hardware and software features.
The NewBrain AD, which contains a 1-line, 16-character fluorescent display, was complemented by a no-display cheaper version sold £30 less, the NewBrain A. There was no reset button and no ON/OFF switch either. A third model, called Newbrain M included a battery-backup option (and the LCD screen) so it can be used as a handheld computer.
An expansion interface was available, providing 2 serial ports, 2 parallels, 1 DAC, 1 joystick port, and a light pen port.
A network was also available and allowed to connect 24 computers together through RS-232/V24 bidirectional serial ports.
The New Brain used a special management memory system which allows to expand memory up to 2 Mb (IMPRESSIVE!).
The character set contained 512 letters, numbers and graphics as well as VideoText symbols. The Character set was divided into two 256-character banks, only one of which could be selected at a time.
An optional VideoText module enabled NewBrains owners to access British TeleText and Prestel services
It could run under CP/M.
The first computer I got to play with in 1983 when doing high-school in the Netherlands. From learning to beginnings of BASIC to doing poke and peeks into video RAM to get some graphics moving...
Monday 4th April 2016
Niels Roskam (Australia)
My first real computer!
Tuesday 21st October 2014
Nick (United States)
In the details of the NewBrain it says that the machine has a "calculatortype" keyboard. That is nonsense !!!! Measure the keydistances !! They are the same as the "big" keyboards sold today !! Only the surface of the keys were a bit smaller. A BIG advantage !!! You would not hit 2, 3, or 4 keys at the same time !! I have never seen such a beautyfull and perfect working keyboard !!
Sunday 28th October 2012
BUILT IN SOFTWARE / GAMES
QWERTY, calculator style, 62 keys
Zilog Z80 A
COP 240 (I/O)
29 KB (8 KB for Basic, 4 KB for graphics, 4 KB for OS/characters set/editor)
80 columns x 25-30 lines / 40 columns x 25-30 lines
From 256 x 10 to 640 x 220 pixels
Tape (two - 1200 bauds); RGB, UHF, RS232c (two - 9600 bauds, one was used as a printer one was cut down in lacking an 'in' line.), Z80 Bus
External power supply unit
Expansion interface featuring 2 serial ports, 2 parallels, 1 DAC, 1 joystick port, and a light pen port.