Convergent Technologies of Santa Clara, California introduced the Worslate the same time as the Tandy Model 100. Although it was about the same size of the Model 100, the Workslate was primarily a spreadsheet machine. No other software could be loaded except some application which was adaptations of the basic spreadsheet program.
The Workslate used a CMOS version of the old 6800 processor and 16B KB of RAM. RAM size couldn't be extended and allowed a limited 720 cells spreadsheet to be filled. The keyboard with circular rubber-keys was hard-to-use for text entry. However, with its phone book, memo pad, and financial calculator, the Workslate was designed for those who only wanted a business tool and didn't want to learn about computers.
Also built-in were a tape drive able to record and play data's or voice annotations, a 300-baud modem and a printer port.
The Workslate was first launched in the American Express Christmas catalog, and was sold as a high-tech novelty product. But no one was interested in buying a limited spredsheet machine for $895. Convergent Technology planned to sell 200,000 units within a year, but only 5,000 systems were sold in the U.S.A plus some hundreds in Europe. The product was discontinued in July 1984, and the company lost about $15 million.
If you notice the keyboard has a "DoIt" key. The President of the fledgling company Allen Michaels used to roam the halls of the company at night and spray paint "DoIT" everywhere, hence the key name.
John Demian from Modesto, California had the good luck to find a complete Workslate system and sent us the Convergent references for all the peripherals and Taskware he found:
WorkSlate # WK-100
MicroPrinter # WP-100
Comm Port # WC-100 (has a Parallel and Serial interface for external printers.)
Teach Me Now Tape # TW-120
I have one I purchased way back then, printer and all. It''s still one of the coolest computers ever made. It was very ahead of it''s time. One of the reason (IMO) that it failed was a lack of IBM PC compatibility. That was the direction everything was going, aside from MAC of course. Another cool computer of the time was the GRID. Good times...
those of you growing up in the 80''s and watched the TV Show Airwolf with Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine, the show used this as a keyboard prop that Ernest used to type on when sitting in the back. In an episode of season 1 or two they do a quick 2 second shot of him typing and you''ll see it.
Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Has anyone mentioned the problem with entering phone numbers with a "1" prefix? I suppose that was caused by the way of memory allocation. This problem may well have been the fatal flaw that caused the demise of this elegant device.
Monday 22nd September 2014
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61 rubber keys with numeric keypad and 5 function keys