VTech Precomputer 1000 (1988)
In 1988, VTech introduced what may have been the most popular learning computer of the 1980s and '90s. The Precomputer 1000 had a 20-character, one-line LCD display that, though limiting in comparison to a full-fledged computer, was flexible enough to run the system's built-in educational software, which included touch-typing instruction, trivia games on subjects like history and science, math quizzes, and word games. Most impressively, the machine included a fully functional version of the BASIC programming language (regrettably, you lost your programs when you turned off the unit).
Factor in a full-size keyboard, long battery life, and a rugged case with a built-in handle, and you have a classic that inspired a generation of very young programmers.
Photos: VTech/Benj Edwards