Luxor/Dataindustruir Advert - June 1980
From Personal Computer World
ABC 80 - The new powerful personal computer from Sweden
Whilst it would be easy to think of the personal computer revolution as being a purely US and UK thing - although these were by far the largest and most active markets - there were home-grown computers being built elsewhere in Europe, such as the DAI Personal Computer from Belgium and this - the ABC 80 - built by Luxor, the Northern-European electrical chain and manufacturer of televisions and Hi-Fi. It was launched in Sweden in 1978.
It was designed by Dataindustruir AB, which was also manufacturer of the compatible Databoard 4680, for which there was already a large range of peripherals available, and comprised three units - a standard keyboard which also contained the computer, a 12" monochrome TV unit and a cassette.
The ABC 80 in action in Sweden, from Personal Computer World July 1979The computer ran a Z80A at 3.5MHz, came with 16K (and could support up to 40K) of RAM, had 16K ROM and ran its own proprietary "ABC" bus as well as using its own BASIC, rather than the de-facto standard of Microsoft BASIC. The BASIC was semi-compiled and so was particularly fast, comparing well against even Acorn's 6MHz Z80 second-processor unit.
It also used TI's Viewdata chip as its character generator, so was compatible with Prestel, Ceefax and other Viewdata services, and even came fitted with a standard European V24 phone plug.
It retailed for £790 + VAT, or around £5,160 in 2023, which put it up against the PET, Apple II, TRS-80, Sharp's MZ-80K and Exidy's Sorcerer. According to the advert - which looks to have been written in English as a second language - it was the most popular micro in Sweden.
Sue Eisenbach of Personal Computer World concluded her review of the ABC 80 somewhat ambiguously, stating that it was near the top of the price range in its market and that there wasn't much English-language software available for it, but that if vendor lock-in was ignored (as it didn't use an industry-standard bus like the prevalent S100), the system did offer a wide range of add-on boards - in fact the review listed nineteen different boards, disc units or software packages, including a dual 8" floppy disc unit for a mere £3,180, or £18,000 in 2023.
Text and otherwise-uncredited photos © nosher.net 2023. Dollar/GBP conversions, where used, assume $1.50 to £1. "Now" prices are calculated using average RPI per year.