Oddball Micros: Texas Instruments TI-74 Basicalc
By James Grahame
I'm having a feeling of deja-vu while writing this, because the TI-74 runs a stripped-down version of the BASIC interpreter in Texas Instrument's TI 99/4A home computer and is a close cousin of their ill-fated CC-40 pocket computer.
Unlike the CC-40, the TI-74 could save program data to cassette tape for long-term storage. It offered 8K of battery-backed RAM and a 31 character LCD display (which scrolled to 80 columns) -- just enough to write and run useful programs.
The 74 could be used as a standard scientific calculator with 10 programmable memories and 12-digit precision (one of my gripes about the early Sharp pocket computers was that while they were cleverly programmable, their calculator mode was no match for a cheap dedicated scientific). It ran on 4-AAA batteries, ensuring that a supply of electricity was readily available. Because of its versatility, the TI-74 remained on the market from 1985 through the early 1990s.
Texas Instruments TI-74 (99er.net)