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It used to produce 8-bit home computers in the 80's though sub-companies : '''SIMMIV''' (Société Internationale de Micro-Informatique et de Vidéo) also known as '''Thomson Micro.''' (1983-1989)
 Despite those machines were literally When the Amstrad arrived they whipped them out by Amstrad in of the French market, they remains remain a well known fail in France, and is are still quite beloved in this country by those who knew them at school.
As we say : '''Proudly Merde in France.'''
=History : a French phenomenon=
Despite this they The computers were quite common because in the early 80's, because the french government started a program "'''Plan informatique pour tous'''" (computering for all plan) in late 1984/early 1985 which consisted of equipping schools with computers networks. 1 primary school on in five had to get one, while all secondary schools (and laters) had to get computers networks.
An earlier plan to equip schools called "'''10.000 computer plan'''" was also started in 1979 and bought some TO7 as early as 1982.
It was decided to favour French industry and Thomson had to hastily produce a full range of adequate computers, '''based on the MOS 6809E CPU clocked at 1mhz''' design of their 1982's computer the TO7.
This gave As a first generation whichresult, while still being "real" a lot of Thomson computers, were not especially designed almost only sold to perform well on domestic marketschools, nor be a good gaming platformapart from the few who got one instead of an Amstrad CPC.
As a result, a lot of Thomson computers were almost only sold to schools, apart from the few unfortunates who got one instead of an Amstrad CPC. While French National Education had to choose those French computers (hastily developed in a rush) the general public rarely got those as they were not as well rounded as an Amstrad CPC per exemplefor example.
A notable flaw was the '''lack of a proper Soundchip''', as only a poor '''beeper''' was put on those. Also most earlier models had very poor keyboards (just see pictures).
While the second generation (MO6/TO8) fixed a lot of issues such as lack of Memory and poor video modes, it was too late for them to take a good home-market share : AmstradCPC Amstrad CPC and AtariST Atari ST were here.
=Range and products=
The Thomson 8bit computers are '''6809E CPU based (1mhz)'''
They were released in a lot of models variations (mostly concerning the keyboard or colour of the casing) from late1982late 1982-1983 to 1989.While MO and TO models are incompatible in software, most of the peripherals and Hardware were compatible. 2nd generation was almost fully retro-compatible with 1st generation but specific 2nd generation software couldn't run on 1st generation computers.
While MO and TO models are incompatible in software, most Those compatibilities issues were fatal to the range alongside the success of the peripherals and Hardware Amstrad CPC in France.Most TO computers were compatiblesupplied with a light pen, or even mouse (TO9) for the later generations.
2nd generation was almost fully retro-compatible with 1st generation but specific 2nd generation softwares couldnThe varied ranges were plagued by inconsistencies in releases, alongside a bigger price than Amstrad't run on 1st generation computerss products.Many models were actually re-released better and with bugs fixed, and often more inbuilt features the year later, for a cheaper price !
Those compatibilities issues As a result, peoples were fatal shy and reluctant to get into this because those computers were not the range alongside best for the success of same price on the Amstrad CPC in Francemarket, to begin with, and because it is always a shame to see that if you waited a bit more, you would have had a far better product.
Most TO computers were Amstrad customers had this with the CPC664 (with the Amstrad the CPC6128 was released only a few months later than the CPC664, having more memory for similar price).A typical example is the TO9, which was supplied with no Monitor first, then was supplied with a light pencolour monitor for the exact same price a 4-6 months later.And with a lot of additional stuff 1 year after being first released (TO9+...). And TO9 keyboard was no more compatible with TO9+...
===First generation===
*'''MO5''' : released in 1984 in order to honour the "Plan Informatique pour Tous".They were clearly designed to be terminals and while sharing a lot of aspects with the TO7, were not actually software compatible (???). (extensions were compatible though)
Supplied with 48K (32K available to user in Basic)
MO5 was first released with rubber keyboard. Then it had a more proper hard plastic mechanical keyboard, which was also supplied in a collector "Michel Platini" white casing..
*'''MO5E''': had a different casing and was aimed at Export, but was also sold on French market as the MO5Etentu (extended), with a AZERTY keyboard though. It features and an in-build Joystick built joystick and (slightly) upgraded beeper.
The casing would later be reused re-used with MO6 hardware as Network terminals renamed MO5NR.
<gallery caption="Thomson MO5 first generation range of computers">
*'''TO7''' : produced from 1982 to 1984. Supplied with only 24K RAM (16K used by the video)... so actually 8Kusable, upgradable into 48K (so actually 32k because of the 16k video). it It can display only 8 colours. Probably the worst keyboard ever.
* '''TO7/70''' : in 1984, this one replaced the "faulty" TO7.
The TO7/70 had a bit more RAM (64K, upgradable into 128K, still 16k used by Video) and some bug fixes and upgrades (implementations for the NanoReseau). It could display twice more colours(16 instead of 8) and became the "standard TO7".
Also the keyboard was changed into a rubber keyboard(fail!), then mechanical keyboard.
<gallery caption="Thomson TO7 first generation range of computers">
===Second generation===
*'''MO6TO9''' : 128K Ram and built released in Tape driverlate 1985. A professional casing with separate Keyboard and Central unit, and a lot of inbuilt peripherals and larger amount of RAM (128k upgradable into 192K). It was the prototype for the later MO6/TO8 graphical specifications.
*'''MO5NR''' was : released in 1985-1986. Was actually a MO6 specification with in-built NanoReseaux all cased in a MO5E casing, hence no in-built Tape Driver as it was supposed to be in network with a TO model as netserver..
*'''TO8''' and '''TO8DMO6''' : 256K Released in 1986. 128K Ram and Builtbuilt in Tape driver. features the in-in 3built "1/2 Disk drive for the TO8D version (D=Disk)joystick and sound" upgrade.
*'''TO9TO8''' : released in late 1986. 256K Ram (could be extended into 512K), 80K ROM with Microsoft's Basic512, better video modes, slightly upgraded beeper (DAC 6-bit) and a lot of connectics *'''TO9+''' : professional casing with separate Keyboard and Central unit, and a lot of inbuilt peripheral and large amount of RAMreleased in late 1986 (one year after the TO9). The "+" version has an in-built Modemand 512k RAM.. * '''TO8D''' : released in late 1987. a TO8 with a Built-in 3"1/2 floppy Disk drive (D=Disk).
*'''Olivetti :''' Some Thomson '''MO6''' were sold in Italy, branded as '''Olivetti prodest PC128'''
===PC compatible===
*TO16 : released in september 1987. it was an 8088 based IBM compatible PC with various configurations that was to be used as network server alongside NanoReseaux. A prototype TO16 was supposed to be 68000CPU based with an intel82716 graphic chipset and Unix styled "OS-9". only 5 prototype were produced and finalised. but they finally simply released an IBM PC clone instead.
 ===Networking kingsand peripherals===
*NanoReseau (Nano-Network) was a Network solution very "popular" as it was largely used in France's Schools.
Actually some sort of Ethernet. It was well known by young frenchpeoples french peoples in the late 80's thanks to the "informatique pour tous" plan.
It was developped developed by the '''Science and Technology University of Lille''' (city in northern France).
it could enable to connect up to 31 Thomson (OMO/TO) computers called "Nanomachines" with a more powerfull computer "head network".
It was largely supplied to various levels of schools by 1985.
*Video incrustation system : enabled to mix TV signal with Computer graphics.
Also various RAM extensions, MassData storage devices, Lightpens and mouse, printers, modems/network connections, Vocal synthesisers, scanners, and so on.
As those available on most other computers..
'''Yet no proper soundchip solution were available.'''
The best one available was a "DAC 6 bits mono" beeper.
=Palette and Video Modes=
'''Resolution : 320x200x16 colours in 8x1 attributes (2 colours per attributes)'''
The Attribute system was comparable to MSX1 with attributes of 8x1 and 16 (except first TO7 series who could only display 8 colours diplayable on screen (2 per attributes), but with a 320x200 resolution instead of a 256x200 resolution..
The Attribute system was comparable to MSX1 with attributes of 8x1 and 16 colours displayable on screen (2 per attributes), but with a 320x200 resolution instead of a 256x200 resolution.. Graphically the MO5/and TO7 /70 are superior to ZX Spectrum in almost every way. The TO7 (1st series) could only display 8 colours.
==MO6 and TO8==
Thomson computers also got their share of '''[[Speccy Ports''' Port]] due to the Attribute based Video mode of the 1st generation.
'''MO5 was basically a 6809E based ZX Spectrum.'''
=Examples of games co-developped developed on Thomson and CPC=
* [[Bivouac]] (TO8) (also known as Chamonix Challenge)
* [[Iznogoud]] (TO8)
* [[Sapiens]] (MO5/TO7) : originally an MO5 game.
* [[Le 5ème 5eme Axe]] (french name) from Loriciels, was originally a MO5 game.
* [[Captain Blood]] : the TO8 version is exactly the same as the CPC version, minus the sounds.
*Don't laught, there is an actual Demoscene on Thomson computers. *[[Shinra team]] produces and releases both on Amstrad CPC/PLUS and '''Thomson''' computers.  {{#ev:youtube|g3ccVWRQkWE|300}} 
Most of those use the superior TO8 specifications and are visually not that different from Amstrad PLUS productions.
*[ MO5 on Wikipedia (french)]
*[ More Thomson Computers on Wikipedia (french too)]
*[] a complete French site with softwares and stuff on Thomson computers.
*[| French site "Nostalgie Thomsonistes"]
*[| an interesting pdf file in French to explain all of this.]
[[Category:Non CPC Computers]]