The Micral N, designed by Francois Gernelle and Andre Thi Truong, has the most legitimate claim to being the first commercial microcomputer. Unlike the Kenbak-1, it used a real processor, and unlike the Intel Intellec series, it was a general purpose computer. Philippe Kahn, who would later found Borland Software in the U.S., wrote the software for the Micral. Made and sold almost exclusively in France, the Micral is difficult to find in the U.S. About 500 units were made. R2E upgraded the original Micro to the Intel 8080 CPU in 1975, calling it the Micral S. France’s Group Bull bought R2E in 1979, discontinued the original Micral line, and renamed the company Bull Micral.
The standard monitor of the Series 80 had a retro-looking, tall pedestal mount.
R2E Micral N (1973, early micro)
Original Retail Price: $1,750
Base Configuration: 8008 CPU, 2K RAM (64K max), LED readout, front panel switches, assembler
R2E Series 80 (1979, desktop)
Base Configuration: Z80 CPU, 32K RAM (64K max), two 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, monochrome monitor, integral keyboard/keypad, BASIC
Important Options: CP/M, external 10MB removable hard disk drive, graphics upgrade, tabletop monochrome monitor