The PHC-10 was released at the same time as the PHC-20 and PHC-25, in 1982. Sanyo wanted to offer a perfect line of products for computing initiation. These three models were supposed to be complementary. But despite high hopes, they just were flops and it's not clear if the PHC-10 was even really sold, as only one or two were found until today, excepts for press pictures from the 80s.
PHC stands for "Personal Home Computer". The PHC-10 was the entry-level system of the trio. It offered a version of Tiny Basic stored in ROM and a built-in LCD display of 1 line by 16 characters. Characters are displayed through a 5x7 pixels matrix. Editing of the program lines are facilitated by the use of the orange arrow keys.
The Tiny Basic is stored in a 4KB ROM inside the purpose-designed chip also used as the processor, and the computer offers 2KB RAM which can be expanded to 4KB max. The PHC-20 has even a built-in buzzer to produce sound and music through the BEEP command.
Apart from the NEC chip acting as microprocessor and ROM, the motherboard is almost empty !
The set of BASIC commands are:
RUN, NEW, LIST, SIZE, RETURN, REM, END, FOR, NEXT, STEP, INPUT, PRINT, IF, GOTO, GOSUB, LET, RND, ABS, BEEP, PAUSE.
This is the minimum to program something interesting. This Basic only handles integers. Thus dividing 5 by 3 will give you a result of 1 !
To overcome the 1 line display limitation, the PAUSE command can be used to replace PRINT. While PRINT will need you to press RETURN each time to read the next line, PAUSE will print the line for 1 second, and then display the next one.
The computer could be powered by 4 AA cells and was supposed to last for 80 hours ! It even could retain data when in sleep mode, which is automatically activated if the the computer is not used for 5 minutes. That made the PHC-10 a real portable computer in 1982, a bit like the Epson HX-20 or the Casio FP-200 both released the same year.
Surprisingly, it looks very similar to the Laser 50 from Video Technology released three years later in 1985. In 1982, the PHC-10 was meant to compete against initiation computers like the Sinclair ZX-80 or ZX-81, or pocket computers like the Sharp PC-1500 or the Tandy TRS80 PC-1.