The TO-7/70 was presented alongside the MO5, in march 1984. While the MO-5 represents a small break into the TO-7 philosophy, the TO-7/70 follows and enhances the TO-7 features.
The case of the TO-7/70 is almost the same as the TO-7 one : roughly triangular with sharp edges. The keyboard, though made of rubber keys, is an improvement over the flat membrane keyboard of the TO-7. The keyboard layout is AZERTY which is normal as the TO-7/70 is a french system. Accentuated letters can directly be accessed by pressing the ACC key, followed by the desired key (6 for é, 7 for è, 8 for ù, 9 for ç and 0 for à). There are also four arrow keys, INS to insert a space, EFF to delete the pointed character, STOP to pause a program, CNT to resume a program stoped and RAZ (remise à zéro) to clear the screen.
The light-pen introduced on the TO-7 has been improved on TO-7/70. While its resolution was only 40x200 on the TO-7 (one eighth of the horizontal range), it can now access every point of the screen, that is to say 320 x 200 pixels.
The expansion possibilities of the TO-7/70 are the same as the TO-7 : 3 expansion connectors for printers, disk-drives, game extension, etc. and 1 memory expansion slot. There is also still a tape-recorder intreface.
The main improvements over the TO-7 are :
- better integration of the components on the main-board
- a better keyboard (hmmmm, so they say)
- more RAM (48 KB, instead of 22 KB)
- a switch to lock the cartridge trap door, since it used to open randomly on the TO-7, rebooting the system and thus loosing all work in progress
- more colours (16 instead of 8)
- better light-pen precision
- the infamous heat-sink at the back of the TO-7 has disapeared !
The TO-7 is upward compatible with the TO-7/70, i.e. software developped for the TO-7 can be used by the TO-7/70, but not the contrary... It also means that the MEMO7 cartridge format is still the same.
AS for the MO-5, the TO-7/70 was quite popular in schools, as Thomson was the main supplier of the French National Education for the "Informatique Pour Tous" Plan. TO-7/70 (and MO5) were mainly used as terminals for the famous "Nanoréseau", an educational network, often piloted by a Logabax Persona 1600.
A second model with better mechanical keyboard was released some months later, for christmas 1985 (see more pictures section). In fact this model was first sold as an exportation model along with the MO5E. They were both presented at the "Hannover Messe" (Germany) in april 1985. That explains why some rumours talked about a TO-7/70E model, but it was never called like this. It was exactly the same model sold later in France.