Computerphone and Intercoms


The Computerphone

This was an early move into the data terminal market. It combined a phone, word processor, spreadsheet, etc with a 1200/75 baud modem. It used micro tape cassette storage rather than floppy disks, and although it looked good it was already outdated when it was issued. It was intended to claim a place for Telecom in the data market at a time when moves were afoot in the USA to restrict the value-added services provided by carriers. These services were supposedly better provided by specialist private companies. The Computerphone was teamed with Telecom’s Viatel service (an early Bulletin Board, pre-Internet) to claim a place in the new but high-potential data market.

The phone, unfortunately, was a disaster. It was flimsy and unreliable.The microcassettes were easy to lose and failed quickly. Screens failed with monotonous regularity. The thermal printer, although it could print color, was unreliable and dreadfully expensive to run. The Commodore 64 computer, a contemporary of the Computerphone, was faster and had more software available. In the UK , where ICL sold the Computerphone as the “One Per Desk”, it quickly became known as the “One Born Every Minute”. Towards the end of its five year life span Telecom was issuing two replacement monitors to customers whenever one broke down. In spite of this, it was a strategic success. It gave Telecom much-needed expertise in the new field and a place in the data market.

To Telecom History

To Basic Rental Phones

To Obsolete Phones

To 800 Series

To Other 800s

To Ericofon

To WallFone

To TouchFone

To Multicom

To Decorator Phones

To Feature Phones

To T200

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