Although the P6040 was very like a calculator, it was a real computer featuring 16 KB ROM, 2 KB RAM and a tiny BASIC programming language.
A three position selector allowed to enter a BASIC program (LOAD position), execute (EXECUTE) or debug by running one instruction at a time (STEP). Sadly, out of the 2 KB of available RAM, only one was available for BASIC program and variables. Hopefully, an optional 2 KB RAM extension was available.
Programs could be listed or executed using the red diode display or the built-in alphanumeric printer. They was saved on Olivetti specific 2.5" 3 KB mylar minidiscs through the built in disc drive.
Three versions of the P-6040 were sold. The first allowed programs to be created, edited and executed; the second only allowed programs to be read from the minidisc and executed; the third, stangely, allowed programs to be created and saved but not executed.
Thanks to Gérard Touitou for information and pictures
Just before I left Olivetti in the dealers division in Australia, the manager of that section had all the state reps fly to Sydney for the release of the P6040 to be used as a low end Ledger machine (combined with a small printer) to replace the A2. This was just around the time when screen based PC''s were coming out, hence few P6040''s were ever sold
Sunday 11th November 2012
Geoff Greig (Australia)
As I recall, the selling price in the US was around $4,500.
Thursday 28th July 2011
This was the first "computer" I ever touched. It was my senior year in high school, 1978-79, so I would guess this was made in 77 or 78. Our public high school suddenly had one of these, and no teacher knew what to do with it. Four or five of us got hold of a BASIC book and tried to figure out if we could make any of the programs work. I think we might have programmed some sort of dice game. I think we had to write our own random number generator, though.
Friday 3rd March 2006
Mark Schmitt (USA)
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Tiny BASIC interpreter
Alphanumeric 72 keys with calculator keypad
2 KB expandable to 4 KB (1 to 3 KB of user RAM)
16 chars x 1 line diode display
SIZE / WEIGHT
36 (W) x 40.6 (D) x 11.6 (H) cm. / 7.8 kg.
BUILT IN MEDIA
Built-in power supply unit
RS232 adapter and specific Olivetti interface called IPSO
$4,500 (USA) About $60,000 including specific software developement according to custommers needs