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T > TANDY RADIO SHACK  > Color Computer   

Tandy Radio Shack
Color Computer

The Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer was known to be called "coco" (Color Computer) by its users. It uses its own version of BASIC, "Tandy Color BASIC" instead of the world famous Microsoft BASIC.

It was followed by the TRS-80 Color Computer II in 1982.

The Welsh Dragon 32 was one of its many clones...


More information about the various Tandy Color BASIC versions from Lee Veal :
In reality, the 'dialects' of BASIC on all versions of the TRS-80 Color Computer 1s & 2s were written by Microsoft for Tandy. That includes Color BASIC (CB), Extended Color BASIC (ECB) and Disk Extended Color BASIC (DECB).
In fact, with very few modifcations, BASIC programs from an IBM-PC or compatible using Microsoft BASIC could run on a CoCo and vice versa. (The way I know that is that I did it. Some were quite complex graphics oriented programs.)
Within one-half K of the beginning the Color BASIC ROM address, there's a character string that reads "COLOR BASIC 1.0(C) 1980 TANDYMICROSOFT". When you fire up a CoCo 1 that has only the Color BASIC ROM, you'll see on the screen
(C) 1980 TANDY

The authors of Tandy's Color BASIC (Microsoft) left their name in the code, but they left it off the opening display.
Subsequent levels of CoCo BASIC (Extended CB and Disk Extended CB) had Microsoft prominently displayed in the opening display. Thus, Color BASIC was quite compatible for obvious reasons with the BASIC that Microsoft develped for the PC. Extended and Disk Extended versions of CoCo BASIC were even more compatible with Microsoft's BASIC for the PC.

On the other hand, the BASIC dialects contained in computers like the Commodore-64, TI-994A, etc were quite incompatible with any version of Microsoft BASIC.

The BASIC developed by Microware (the developers of the OS-9 operating system and originally Tandy's first choice of a BASIC developer), called BASIC09, was NOT compatible with Microsoft BASIC. BASIC09 is and was a powerful language that compiled to intermediate code but it is more akin to Pascal then BASIC.

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).


The CoCo actually did use Microsoft Color Basic which tandy licensed from Microsoft... as a matter of fact, the fact is listed every time the machine boots on the startup screen.

Sunday 17th June 2018
david1024 (USA)

Hey does anyone know what these are worth I''m sitting on about 4 of them that I picked up at a flea Market for 5 bucks

Monday 15th June 2015
Robert (Usa)

To call the Dragon 32 a "clone" is rather unfair. The CoCo and the Dragon were both simply implementations of the Motorola reference design for a computer based on the 6809 microprocessor. The Dragon 32 was my first computer (and later I got a 64). I ordered the Motorola datasheet for the 6809 to help my assembly language programming and it included the circuit design which was used for both machines.

Sunday 1st September 2013
Nick Ellerby (UK)


NAME  Color Computer
MANUFACTURER  Tandy Radio Shack
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  1980
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Tandy (Microsoft) BASIC interpreter
KEYBOARD  QWERTY, calculator type keyboard
CPU  Motorola 6809 E
SPEED  0.895 MHz (or 1.79 MHz)
RAM  4 KB (up to 64 KB)
TEXT MODES  max : 16 x 32, min : 16 x 8
GRAPHIC MODES  Several graphic modes, max : 256 x 192 (with 2 colors)
SOUND  1 voice
SIZE / WEIGHT  36.9 (W) x 34.4 (D) x 9.4 (H) cm
I/O PORTS  Tape, RGB, Joystick (2), Monitor, Cardridge, Serial RS232
OS  OS-9 Level 1
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PRICE  $400

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