The founder of the Access Matrix owned another company that supplied components to Osborne Computer. Seeing the success of Osborne, he asked Jay Berg to design a better CP/M-based portable computer. He did so using off-the-shelf components and added capabilities.
Access Matrix laid claim (questionably) that the Access was the first all-in-one portable, integrating a printer and acoustic coupler into the unit. The Computer Devices DOT system and the Sharp PC-5000 had similar features around the same time. More components mean more potential points of failure. Fortunately, the printer mechanism is the same used in the popular Epson MX-80 FT with Graftrax Plus, so parts should be easy to find.
In late 1983, the company changed its name to Actrix Computer Corp. and the name of the computer to Actrix after losing a trademark lawsuit. At the same time it also offered an 8088 coprocessor option so the Actrix could run MS-DOS. For a short while, the computers kept the Access brand before changing to Actrix.
To stand out from competitors, Access Matrix was perhaps the first computer maker to use late-night TV advertising to sell its products. According to Berg, this effort was very successful.
Actrix introduced true PC-compatible portables in 1985. They featured a larger screen and a Citizen printer mechanism rather than Epson. A PC-compatible desktop was also announced, but it is uncertain whether any were ever sold.
It’s not clear when production of the Access/Actrix computers ended. The company laid off most of its staff and continued to assemble and sell systems from parts on hand for several years after that.
Model: Access Matrix Access (Feb. 1983, transportable)
Original Retail Price: $2,495
Base Configuration: Z80A CPU; CP/M 2.2; 64K RAM; dual 5.25-inch floppy disk drives; integral 7-inch monochrome CRT; keyboard/keypad; two RS-232C, parallel, and IEEE-488 ports; MBASIC or C BASIC; application suite; integral printer and acoustic coupler; leather carrying case
Size/Weight: 16.13 x 10 x 10.75 inches, 33 lbs.
Important Options: 8088 coprocessor with MS-DOS (Actrix), battery pack