29 October 1979, the first programmable (second generation) handheld console makes its entry into the market. Microvision, by Milton Bradley (MB), was the first cartidge based handheld console capable of playing multiple games.
Ten years before the release of the famous Nintendo Gameboy, the first handheld console with the ability to receive a cartridge appeared, instead of having pre-stored games in its memory. The UK's Microvision may not have had the slightest success compared with the Nintendo handheld console, but it never ceases to be the first model of this very large class of gaming machines to date.
Each cartridge was accompanied by a corresponding front panel, which in turn utilized the device's 12 total touch keys differently. Microvision was a peculiar console that was more of a platform than a standalone device. It itself had no processor or memory. These were on the cartridge. The 13 cartridges released were equipped with two different processors. Originally the Intel 8021, which was part of the 8-bit family of micro-controller MCS-48. And the newer ones with the much more economical power consumption, the TI TMS 1100, which belonged to the 4 bit micro-controller TMS1000. The device had an LCD screen and a 12-key keypad, which were used differently from game to game, as the corresponding cartridge was accompanied by a front panel mounted on the device.
The Microvision console had very serious technical problems. Firstly, the technology and quality of the LCD screen was crude and the wear was coming very soon. Secondly, it was sensitive to static electricity at the time the cartridge was installed. Event that could lead to the destruction of its circuits. Finally, the keys on the keypad were also very sensitive, and as they were pressed against the plastic cover of each different facade, they could easily be destroyed. However, Microvision's trading path was not a failure. Although he stayed on the market for only two years, and despite being accompanied by a few games, the manufacturing company earned $8 million. The starting price in 1979 was $150.
CPU (into cartridge): 8bit Intel 8021 or 4bit TI TMS1100 at 100 kHz
RAM Memory (into CPU): 4 bits (TMS1100) or 8 bytes (Intel 8021)
ROM Memory (into cartridge): 2 KB (TMS1100) or 1 KB (Intel 8021)
Screen: Monochromatic LCD, 16×16 blocks
Controllers: keypad with 12 touch keys and one paddle
Dimensions: 30×8.8×2.5 cm
Weight: 230 g
Batteries: 1x 9V (TMS1100) or 2x 9V (Intel 8021)
Star Trek: Phaser Strike (later just Phaser Strike)
Super Blockbuster (never released and there aren't any known prototypes)
Barrage (released only in Europe)
Below you can watch a 1976 Vintage Commercial of Microvision: