Every so often a writer has an opportunity to correct history, not that I am about to revise history, I just need to set the record straight. Not many articles have been written of the subject of portable word processors, but those that are out there need to be accurate. In my virtual travels I came across a “paper” written and published by “The Computing Teacher, October 1994” entitled “Laptop Word Processors in the Classroom” This article was very well written, however when it came to the accuracy relating to the Tandy and the Citizen products is has glaring errors. So, please read on as I correct the error and illustrate the correction with photographs.
Please understand where I am coming from. I am a real computer geek, and when it comes to the Tandy line of products I take exception to errors. The article accuracy describes the Citizen and the Tandy word processors as being the same units, with the exception of the case color. It also states that the Tandy was built by Citizen (Citizen Watch Co.) and only imported by Tandy which stopped importation and selling in 1992. (Actually they were imported up to 1994 in Canada and the UK, and sold until 1995)
Without ranting further, the following is a direct quote from the article…
“NTS has made several positive changes to the original design. The name has been changed to the WP-10 and it is now a charcoal gray rather than black, making it easier to mark with school name, number, etc. The original WP-2 required the removal of the NiCad batteries for recharging. NTS can put industrial strength batteries inside the case and adapt the circuitry so that these batteries would recharge whenever the computer is plugged in.”
The two faces of the Citizen CBM-10WP, left the Citizen and right the Citizen tagged (branded) by NTS Computer Systems Ltd. – CLICK HERE FOR FULL SIZE MAGEOK, so lets pick a few nits before we open these machine up and look. First NTS is actually the NTS Computer Systems Ltd., in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.
At that time a smaller company and probably through some very good efforts are a real contender today. They are the company responsible for classroom wonders like the Brainium and the DreamWriter portables. But the quote states that they “made several positive changes” which the article states, they changed the color. Wrong! Citizen shipped them the Citizen CBM-10WP, and NTS only printed up stickers and covered the name on the face of the unit. (See Photos) and re-branded them the NTS WP-10C.
Pictured, Citizen CBM-10WP (NTS WP-10C) left and Tandy WP-2 right. Note components are identical. CLICK ON PICTURE FOR FULL SIZE IMAGE
The second error in reporting comes “The original WP-2 required the removal of the NiCad batteries for recharging. NTS can put industrial strength batteries inside the case and adapt the circuitry so that these batteries would recharge whenever the computer is plugged in.
Wrong again! This one is almost an insult to the Radio Shack company Purchasers. Tandy Corporation and at the time the Canadian based InterTan Corporation had Citizen brand their original CBM-10WP in a black case. The article also states that NTS adapted the circuitry to charge the batteries at all times. This is a glaring claim for a company that did not do any major electronic modifications at that time.
Both the Tandy WP-2 and the Citizen CBM-10WP have the ability to charge Ni-Cad continually while in operation. This is a simple “Set-Up” function programmed into the units by Citizen Watch Co. The only difference is that the NTS model came shipped with a 32K RAM chip for additional storage, an option for which the Tandy WP2 and WP3 already made available.
Based on these errors the article recommends the NTS word processor over the Tandy. Which are identical units. The real difference is that when purchasing the NTS modified portable, part of your purchase price went to a third party. In other words you paid additional funds to a middle man.