- 1. First generation of office computers (1960s and 1970s)
- Toshiba’s office computers began with the TOSBAC-1100A, an ultra-small electronic computer that went on sale in 1963, which was developed with the aim of spreading computing into business processes and making mainframe data entry more efficient. Toshiba created the TOSBAC-1100 line and released the 1100B, 1100D, and 1100E in succession, driven by the powerful need for inexpensive computers at the time.
The TOSBAC-1150 series (models I to VI) and the TOSBAC-1350 series (models I to V), which first went on sale in 1973, were used primarily for billing processes but also supported online systems with the addition of an optional communication control module. The office computers came with management programs, application programs (sales management, inventory control, etc.), and development languages (PREPACK, etc.). The basic functions of office computers solidified around this time.
The TOSBAC System 15, 35, and 55 series, which were announced together in 1977, were office computers with CRT displays and were the first Toshiba models to be called “office computers.” These models came with MIGHTY, the first Toshiba operating system with a name, which provided the concepts and functions that would come to distinguish later Toshiba office computers. In 1978, Toshiba announced the TOSBAC Kanji System 15, Japan’s first true kanji-capable office computer.
- 2．Era of the DP series of distributed processing computers and the TOSBAC Q series (end of the 1970s until the mid-1980s)
- The DP/6 distributed processing computer, which Toshiba developed in 1978, functioned both as an intelligent terminal connectable to any host and as a multitasking office computer. The distributed processing computer DP series became a lineup with DP/OA terminal, 2, 4, and 8 for intelligent terminal applications. And based on this DP series, Toshiba sold the TOSBAC System 15 Model 60, TOSBAC System 45, TOSBAC System 65, and TOSBAC System 85 as true multi-workstation office computers. The system software had a 16-bit CPU instruction set optimized for running COBOL programs, CODASYL databases, DPNET for access to computer assets on a network without requiring detailed knowledge of the network, and separated programming from printing/screen billing formats.
Toshiba began selling the high-end Q-800 model with a 32-bit CPU in 1984 and filled out the TOSBAC Q series when it began selling lower end models (Q-700, Q-600, Q-500, Q-200, and Q-100) with 16-bit CPUs in 1985. The Q series abandoned the “office computer” name for the moniker “total OA processors,” as the machines were aimed to be core office automation computers. The operating system ported DPNET, a horizontal and vertical distributed processing function that was perfected on the DP series, and provided it as TOPNET. In addition to office automation functions (OACALC3, tabulations and calculations, OAJEDS, document creation, OAGRAPH, graph creation, and OADRAW, drawing creation), the operating system offered full-featured image processing by means of the J-5070 image processing workstation, dedicated imaging processors, and fax communication controls.
- 3．Era of the V-7000 series, the TP90 series, and the TP90F series (mid-1980s onward)
- In 1987, Toshiba launched three models of multipurpose computers with 32-bit architectures — V-7050, V-7060, and V-7070 — and added to the V-7000 series with the V-7040 and V-7030 models in 1988. The V-7000 series (with the OS-V operating system) unified the DP series of distributed processing computers and the Q series of office automation processors into one series by integrating their architectures. In terms of software functions, the series offered VNET for distributed processing using V-7000 series machines, DP series machines, and Q series machines, OSI (Open Systems Interconnection)/FTAM and MHS, software development functions (MYSTAR: an integrated software development assistance environment, and SPCLAN: a tool for auto generating programs from specifications), relational databases (RDB/V), and advanced office automation functions (such as VCAST: an integrated tabulation and calculation sub-system (that enabled access to RDB/V)).
In 1990, Toshiba began selling the TP90 Model 70 and completed the TP90 series (with the OS-Ⅶ operating system) with the lower end models 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 in 1991. The TP90 series offered a 50-times performance range with its cluster configuration known as an “add-on enhancement” and stepped expansion on the user’s premises (field upgrades) to address larger volumes of business transactions or larger databases. The operating system had a decentralized OLTP function that provided a distribution model in which transaction processes were split between multiple computers on a network.
The start of the 1990s saw the rise of client-server system configurations, and so naturally the TP90 was furnished with TCP/IP LAN connectivity with personal computers as clients. The TP90 was also used frequently as a database server, mail server, or print server. As a result, all machines were named “office servers” from 1994 on. With the development and roll out of the TP90F series (with the OS-ⅦF operating system) in 1996, users were able to select the hardware components to optimize the system configuration for their business processes.