Happy Birthday BBC Micro -- "Educational" Computer turns 30

By Gary Cutlack on at

The computer that played a big part in turning a generation into amateur programmers hits a milestone this week, with the BBC Micro celebrating 30 years of pretending to be for "helping kids with homework."

The BBC Micro A and B both launched on December 1st 1981, when maker Acorn opened up pre-orders for the 16KB Model A and the 32KB Model B, with prices starting at £235 for the Model A and £335 for the "high-end" Model B. Units would begin to ship the following January, with shortages and crazed demand triggering price rises.

Borne out of the BBC's Computer Literacy Project, the idea of re-branding the Acorn as a BBC device was designed to give the general public one single, standard form of computer and programming language, which it could then use to educate and train people in the use of, via a TV programme the BBC decided to call... The Computer Programme.

The Department of Industry was so impressed by the hardware and its potential it began subsiding school purchases, filling brand new computer rooms with BBC's across the country. Acorn made loads of money. And never repeated the success. [The Register]