TRS-80 Model 100



The Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 was one of the first notebook-style computers. It had a built-in modem that could send files back to the office through a landline phone. It was used by reporters all over the world. “I honestly think you could draw a line from this to the iPad,” says Walt Mossberg.

Context: type writers and luggables

If you were a knowledge worker in the early 80s, especially working with words, you would be either travelling with a typewriter, or you would be glued to a location where some personal computer would be sitting on a desk, impossible to carry around. Yes, there were luggables — heavy PCs which you carried around like suit cases.

Changer: laptop before laptops

The "T100" was different. It was part of a new breed of devices, which were light and space-saving. Like the Epson HX20, that you could carry around. But on the HX20, it was hard to get your work out of the machine, and send it somewhere else. That's where the T100 truly shined. It had a modem built in, so you could send your work via a phone line to a remote office. Running on AA batteries, with a full-fledged keyboard, BASIC as means to program, and some extras like an address book and a calendar, it was a great piece of technology.

Enabler: remote work on the go

It's no wonder reporters loved this device. They could cover stories all around the globe, and send their stories to the headquarters. I believe there was more to the device. Through BASIC, you could write small simulations and applications for travelling workers, who e.g. needed to check measurements/values in different locations, and could instantly see the simulation's results.


Today the device still runs smoothly and offers almost everything it could those days. Though modems are not used anymore in our everyday's lives, through its ports it can connect to modern devices e.g. for file exchange. It's still a great typing device, and a joy to show basic coding abilities to children.

related activities


TRS-80 Model 100 cmos battery removal

I need to remove the CMOS battery inside the T100, before it blows up and ruins the machine.