Polymorphic Advert - July 1977
From Byte - The Small Systems Journal
The Poly 88 Microcomputer System - from PolyMorphic
PolyMorphic had started out making expansion cards for the Altair 8800 - the 1975 micro that as well being the first affordable microcomputer in the modern sense also gave the world what would become known as the S-100 bus.
As more and more manufacturers started producing cards to the new format, a market opened up for other micros which could also use them, including this - the Poly 88, or as it was previously nicknamed the Micro Altair, or even the Orange Toaster.
It was much smaller and simpler, but lacked the lights and switches of the original Altair so could only be accessed via a terminal. Whilst it could be programmed in machine code, this wasn't very user-friendly and so the company also offered its own version of BASIC, however this had to be loaded from tape and required at least 16K RAM.
Polymorphic's BASIC - a microcomputer without software is a tool without a handle. This PolyMorphic advert also features a few more "systems", including System 7 with only 8K RAM and a cut-down 8K BASIC, for $1,750
Several versions of the Poly 88 were available for sale. The cheapest was System 0 for $525, or about £2,820 in 2024 money. This included the Poly as a bare board, video circuit and tape interface. It was kit form only, which the advert helpfully suggests should only be assembled by "persons familiar with digital circuitry".
The top-of-the-range offering was System 16, which was assembled and tested and which came with 16K RAM, monitor, keyboard, BASIC and a cassette player - all for $2,250, or about £12,100 in 2024.
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