Debuting in Japan in 1978, then in Europe in 1979, the Sharp MZ-80K series of computers were some of the most popular personal computers in those regions. The series continued well into the mid-1980s. Its name stands for “M” as in microcomputer and then “Z-80” for the microprocessor that it uses. From the first model to the MZ-2200 released in 1983, all of the MZ series included the CPU, monitor, keyboard and tape recorder in a single unit, similar to the early Commodore PET.
|Listen to our podcast episode about the Sharp MZ-80K (and Sinclair ZX80) computer here|
The computer was very utilitarian, but well built and reliable. It had 48 kB of RAM with 32 kB available for use depending on the memory configuration of the system languages being used. It could run a variety of high-level languages including BASIC, Pascal and FORTRAN, which had to be loaded into RAM first, as they were not included in ROM. The early models had no color and no high resolution. It was equipped with a real clock and a built-in speaker though.
Sharp was founded in September 1912 and takes its name from one of its founder’s first inventions, the Ever-Sharp mechanical pencil. Sharp is of course still around, producing many different types of electronic products, including displays, projectors, photocopiers, laser printers, Aquos televisions, mobile phones, microwave ovens, home cinema and audio systems, air purification systems, calculators, electronic cash registers, point of sale technologies and more.
The Legacy: Overview of the SHARP MZ-series
Emulation: MZ-700 Emulator