The Canon AX-1 went on sale in October 1978. It was a programmable computer designed in the form of a desktop calculator for ease of use. It came with a full-sized built-in thermal printer and an internal mini-floppy disk drive. The AX-1 also had a vacuum fluorescent display to display large characters that enabled users to enter and run programs interactively. The main logic elements were implemented in LSI.
The AX-1's primary features were as follows.
- （1）Designed with an emphasis on usability, the AX-1 adopted the algebraic programming language found on ordinary calculators.
- （2）The full-sized built-in thermal printer had three selectable print widths of 80 characters, 48 characters, or 24 characters. In addition to printing text, users could also create simple charts and graphs with a plotting function that moved vertically and horizontally.
- （3）Large digitron-like characters on the vacuum fluorescent display permitted interactive operations.
- （4）The standard internal memory size was 2 kilobytes, which could be expanded to 8 kilobytes. The internal mini-floppy disk drive had a storage capacity of 65.5 kilobytes.