IBM 610 workstation computer 3348
For its time, that kind of awkwardness in computers wasn't unusual, especially on low end machines.
I believe it was the price that was too high.
IBM 610 workstation computer 3349
Peter Smith Well, it was succesfully used for many types of calculations despite its awkwardness. Some of us still believe that computers are incredibly awkward, and that those which succeed in the marketplace are...
Could you elaborate on that? Do you mean the CRT was just a string of dots that one had to count up by hand and multiply by powers of 2 to get a value?
IBM 610 workstation computer 3351
Tim Shoppa I don't have the 1976 MS BASIC, but I do have QBASIC from DOS 5.0. Are you saying if I do a SQRT on BASIC I'll get...
Device drivers and independence was another eight years away. One of the benefits of S-360 was that devices were independent of the CPU, that is, a particular device could be attached to any of the models. Before that, peripherals were designed for specific computer models and each model was different and not compatible.
The 610 may have been part of a planned line of "Modular Accounting Machines", low priced computer line. This line never came to fruition and was superceded by other products. Further, the 610 was held back from the market for 3 years after it was designed, making it obsolete. IBM was in transition between tube and transistors and developing larger machines. The 610 was tube based. The 1401 and 1620 came out a few years later and were very successful. I would suspect 1620s found use in highway design.
IBM had some other small sellers in those days, such as the 608-609 transistorized calculators. They were impressive machines, but still totally punched card oriented and people did well enough with the flagship 604 calculator. But the 608 was built mostly to gain transistor experience, not for sales.
We take cheap electronics for granted nowadays, but in those days circuitry was expensive. To build a cheap machine, e.g. one for individual use, meant using very little circuitry, but that hurt functionality. Transistors still cost more than tubes in those years, and they had to come down in price, as well as efficient packaging techniques.
In contrast, a big success story of that era was the IBM 650 computer. It was relatively cheap compared to big units but powerful enough to get a lot of work done. I believe it was the first big seller, computers before that were built in very small lots because they were so expensive.
The next big success was the IBM 1401 of 1959, another huge seller. Programs written for the 1401 ("Autocoder") could be run on successor machines and did until the 1990s!
For science users, IBM introduced the 1620 in Oct 1959.