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 whipped out by Amstrad in the French market, they remains a well known fail in France, and is 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 were quite common because in the early 80's , 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 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 a first generation which, while still being "real" computers , were not especially designed to perform well on domestic market, nor be a good gaming platform.
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 exemple.
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 and AtariST 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
late1982-1983 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 softwares couldn' t run on 1st generation computers.
Those compatibilities issues were fatal to the range alongside the success of the Amstrad CPC in France.
Most TO computers were supplied with a light pen.
*'''MO5''' : released in 1984 in order to honour the "Plan Informatique pour Tous".
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 in- build Joystick and (slightly) upgraded beeper.
The casing would later be
reused 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 8K, upgradable into 48K (
so actually 32k because of the 16k video). it can display only 8 colours.
* '''TO7/70''' : in 1984, this one replaced the "faulty" TO7.
The TO7/70 had a bit more RAM (64K, upgradable into 128K) and some bug fixes (implementations for the NanoReseau). It could display twice more colours.
Also the keyboard was changed into a rubber keyboard, then mechanical keyboard.
<gallery caption="Thomson TO7 first generation range of computers">
MO6''' : 128K Ram and built in Tape driver.
was actually a MO6 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 '''TO8D''' : 256K Ram and Built- in 3" 1/2 Disk drive for the TO8D version (D=Disk)
TO9''' and '''TO9+''' : professional casing with separate Keyboard and Central unit, and a lot of inbuilt peripheral and large amount of RAM. The "+" version has an in-built Modem .
*'''Olivetti :''' Some Thomson '''MO6''' were sold in Italy, branded as '''Olivetti prodest PC128'''
*TO16 : it was an IBM compatible PC that was to be used as network server alongside NanoReseaux.
*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 in the late 80's thanks to the "informatique pour tous" plan.
developped by the '''Science and Technology University of Lille''' (city in northern France).
it could enable to connect up to 31 Thomson (
O/TO) computers called "Nanomachines" with a more powerfull computer "head network".
It was largely supplied to various levels of schools by 1985.
=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 colours diplayable on screen (2 per attributes) , but with a 320x200 resolution instead of a 256x200 resolution..
Graphically the MO5
/TO7 are superior to ZX Spectrum in almost every way .
==MO6 and TO8==
Thomson computers also got their share of
'''Speccy Ports''' due to the Attribute based Video mode of the 1st generation.
'''MO5 was basically a 6809E based ZX Spectrum.'''
=Examples of games co-
developped on Thomson and CPC=
* [[Bivouac]] (TO8)
* [[Iznogoud]] (TO8)
* [[Sapiens]] (MO5/TO7) : originally an MO5 game.
5ème 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.
Most of those use the superior TO8 specifications and are visually not that different from Amstrad PLUS productions.
www.fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomson_MO5 MO5 on Wikipedia (french)]
www.fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIMIV More Thomson Computers on Wikipedia (french too)]
*[http://www.logicielsmoto.com/home.php Logicielsmoto.com] a complete French site with softwares and stuff on Thomson computers.
*[http://nostalgies.thomsonistes.org/thomson_saga.pdf| an interesting pdf file in French to explain all of this.]
[[Category:Non CPC Computers]]