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E > EPSON  > HC / HX-20   

HC / HX-20

Superbly designed and engineered, the Epson HX20 can be considered as the first true portable computer. It was the only package available at the time which included a microcassette drive, a mini-printer and a LCD display.

The small built-in printer could print graphics or text (up to 24 columns, 47 lines per minute). The small tape recorder was pretty fast (considering it was a tape drive). The computer rewinds or fast forwards the tape automatically to find the right file. This tape recorder could be removed and replaced with a ROM cartridge.

Two case colours were released, cream and silver. To our knowledge, the silver version was intended for some European countries. It was sold in Germany for example.


RealVoice expansion, by Gary Clouse:
A company call RealVoice sold Epson HX-20 computers with a custom expansion box bolted to the side that turned the computer into an Agumentative Communication Device (ACD) for use by people with disabilities that caused extreme speech impairment.
The ACD software worked in several modes, and customized settings and special vocabularies could be saved on the tape, or printed on the printer. It could accept keyboard input, a special "picture keyboard", or a simple switch that could be used for "scanning" or morse code imput.
Regardless of the input method, the RealVoice produced clear human-sounding speech. I have an HX-20 with the RealVoice module and it still works in 2006!

NAME  HC / HX-20
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  1982
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Microsoft BASIC interpreter
KEYBOARD  Full stroke 68 key with 13 function keys
CPU  Two Hitachi 6301
SPEED  0.614 MHz
RAM  16 KB (up to 32 KB)
ROM  32 KB (up to 64 KB)
TEXT MODES  4 lines of 20 characters (in a window of 255 x 255 characters)
GRAPHIC MODES  120 x 32 dots
COLORS  Monochrome LCD
SOUND  Beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  29 (W) x 21.5 (D) x 4.4 (H) cm / 1.7 kg
I/O PORTS  RAM extension port, RS232 (for printer), Serial, Bar code.
BUILT IN MEDIA  Small analog 1300 baud microcassette drive (optional)
POWER SUPPLY  4 AA Ni-Cd batteries or AC adapter
PERIPHERALS  up to 4 3.5'' floppy disc units, display controller, acoustic coupler
PRICE  £480
2990 FF (France, january 1988)

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