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News Archive - Announcment of Electronic Arrays 6-Chip Calculator Chipset

IEEE Computer Magazine, November, 1970

In July of 1970, Electronic Arrays announced that it had developed a calculator chipset that provided a four function, fixed decimal, eight-digit (with calculation results to 16 digits) calculator on six LSI chips. Shortly thereafter, EA began selling the chips to anyone who wanted to purchase them, and a number of small companies began buying the chips and making low-cost desktop calculators. In November of 1970, Electronic Arrays spun-off a subsidiary company called International Calculating Machines (ICM) headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA, and began producting a calculator using the chipset. The calculator, dubbed the ICM 816, was introduced in early 1971. In the fall of 1971, Sony announced the ICC-88 portable (rechargable battery-powered) calculator based on the EA chipset. This was a watershed moment for Sony, as in all previous Sony calculators, Sony had manufactured their own chips for their calculators. Lastly, in November of 1971, Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), which later became famous for the ALTAIR 8800 microcomputer kit, announced their first electronic calculator kit in a Popular Electronics magazine article introducing the MITS 816 calculator. The kit sold for $179, and a fully-assembled 816 was available for $275.