This TI99/4A all plastic beige version was launched in June 1983, five months before Texas Instruments decide to definitely get out of the home computers market.
The goal was to reduce the production costs and offer a better price front of the Commodore VIC-20 competition. T.I. also thought of standardizing colours and peripherals of its future line of home computers, the TI99/2 and TI99/8.
Internal hardware of the beige version was quite the same as the TI99/4 black and silver model. All of the TI99 peripherals could run on the new version. Some minor change were made though:
• New power supply unit
• New power switch moved to to right of the keyboard
• The power Led was replaced with a blue colored area on the power switch
• Only the T.I. licencied ROM cartridges could run on this version.
Despite its short life, several tens of thousands system were sold, in American continent and Australia.
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I cut my teeth on this machine, learning program literally by copying the listings from magazines, and then figuring out which part did what action or sequence. My dad bought this machine for me when it was already discontinued, but as a poor family, we didn''t care. I love this machine to this day, and it is still connected to my tv.
I have a beige 99/4A that my Grandma bought at Sears on clearance. It came with the original version of the system ROM and will run all third party carts. Guess TI was trying to just make everything they could and mixed and matched surplus part stock to get rid of it at the EOL of the machines. Even though the computer is almost a decade older than I am I have enjoyed it and still break it out every now and then to play Zero Zap or Parsec on.
Monday 19th June 2017
I still have my beige TI-99/4a (16k of RAM!) and it still works (except I no longer have a tube tv for display. :-( ). I also have the cassette player I used with it and there''s a tape in there but I''m afraid to even plug it in or try and open the player. Figure the tape has welded itself to the read head or something. For what it''s worth, I now admin super computers. Great way to start.