The TK90X Brazilian clone of the British Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer, from the early 80´s. Built by a company called microdigital,which also made a whole family of other clones, all under the brand TK.

Built just like a ZX Spectrum on the outside, it came in models with 16KB and 48KB of RAM. In the inside it was almost the same but for these modifications:

  • Error messages in the built in basic interpreter were translated into Portuguese.
  • A fancy color bar was added on the startup screen, which showed the computer color capabilities.
  • The keywords trace and UDG were added to the basic (these were the source of some incompatibilities).

This UDG keyword provided high level operation for Portuguese and Spanish accentuated characters, and provided a graphical interface for design your custom User Defined Graphics. In the original designed this had to be achieved through peeks and pokes.

The TK preceding these microdigital computers referred to Thomas Kovaris, microdgital''s founder.

Other microdigital models were the TK82, TK82C, TK85, all clones of previous Sinclair ZX machines. The TK95 was a TK90X with an improved keyboard, but none of the other advances on the original ZX Spectrum line. The TK2000 was, I think, the only original computer design from microdigital: an striped down Apple II, not fully compatible with it. And finally, the TK3000 was an Apple IIe clone. I am not sure if microdigital ever made it into the boring era of the 80x86 IBM PC´s clones, and if it did, it changed its name.

All this computer cloning was made possible because of a Brazilian legislation on informatics that made it illegal to import any informatics merchandise, hardware or software, for which existed a national ¨equivalent¨ . Thus you could reverse enginneer a software piece or a computer and prevent its original manufacturer from selling it on Brazil.

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