Oddball Micros: Amstrad NC100, An early 1990s Notepad
By James Grahame
The Amstrad NC100 looks a lot like Radio Shack's TRS-80 Model 100, but they're two quite different machines. The NC100 was introduced in 1992 at a price of £199. Amstrad advertised it with the slogan, "If you can't use this new computer in five minutes, you'll get your money back." It included a word processor (with 48,000 word dictionary), BBC BASIC programming, calculator, diary, address book, and clock. There was no built-in storage -- you used a serial cable to transfer data from the 64KB of battery-backed RAM to another machine.
The NC100 was followed by the much more practical NC200 in late 1993. The new model offered twice the memory (128K) and a built-in floppy drive, making it much more useful. It also doubled the size of the screen to 80 characters x 16 lines, and included a backlight. Machines like this rarely come along anymore, which is a pity -- they serve some people's needs extremely well.