The HOTBIT HB-8000 was, along with the Gradiente Expert, the only MSX system officialy available in Brasil (though imported MSX systems like the Canon V-20, Yamaha CX5, Yashica YC-64, etc. could be bought). It was developped by Sharp and marketed by Epcom. It is a classic MSX 1 computer, with 64 KB RAM and two cartridge slots (one on top, and the "expansion" port on the side of the system).
MSX systems did very well in Brasil and litteraly killed the previous micro-computer market populated with TRS-80, Apple II and Spectrum clones from local companies. Gradiente (sound / HIFI products) and Epcom/Sharp (video products) were big companies, and put a lot of money in the marketing of their MSX computers.
Though the Hotbit was more respectful of MSX standards than the Gradiente Expert, it did not win the marketing battle, and its production was stopped in 1988.
There are several versions of the Hotbit HB-8000: version 1.0 and 1.1 use a white case, while version 1.2, released to be compatible with the Gradiente Expert ASCII table (problem related to portuguese special characters), use a black case.
Djogo Patrao adds:
Back on these days, the most annoying difference between Hotbits and Experts was in which slot were the RAM. A great deal of software didn't autodetected this, and assumed the Expert default, which caused bad (and wrong) opinions about Hotbit.
Rafael Rigues reports:
If you look on the back of a black Hotbit, you will notice that the area surrounding the ports is covered by a thin plastic mask, as it was originally recessed. Removing this mask, you will find a circular opening for an extra port marked RGB (the text is molded in the plastic). This leads to the speculation that this model was originally designed as an MSX 2 machine.
However, I had the opportunity to help in an interview with the marketing manager of Sharp on that era, and he knew nothing about this. According to him, the 1.2 models are black simply to make them more appealing and fit better with A/V equipment of the time.
We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system,
please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
Epcom / Sharp
END OF PRODUCTION
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Full-stroke keyboard, 5 function keys and 4 arrow keys. 73 keys. Portuguese special characters
TMS-9128NL video processor
64 KB (28 KB free with MSX Basic)
32 KB BASIC/BIOS ( MSX BASIC V1.0)
Mode 0 : 40 x 24 Mode 1 : 32 x 24
Mode 2 : 256 x 192 with 16 colors (Hires mode) Mode 3 : 64 x 48 with 16 colors (Multi colour mode) 32 sprites
General Instruments AY-3-8910 Programmable Sound Generator 3 channels, 8 octaves