DeskMate was a software application that provided an operating environment that competed with early versions of Microsoft Windows. It originally was made for Tandy's TRS-DOS Operating System and for their TRS-80 line of computers, but eventually shifted to PC, where it was developed using C and Assembly. Like Windows (and other competitors from the time, such as GEM), it was not a full operating system, requiring MS-DOS to function. Deskmate was written by Tandy for their early PC-compatible computers, and later made available for other compatibles.

DeskMate version 1.0 was included with the original Tandy 1000 and did not work correctly on non-Tandy computers. This was mainly due to the use of the function keys - as most non-Tandy PCs either did not come with an F12 button or with one that did not act in the same way as a Tandy F12 function key.

DeskMate (version 2) on Tandy 1000s

By the time DeskMate was released on the Tandy 1000, it was a GUI that acted as a portal for many other office productivity applications. The DeskMate application would run on top of MS-DOS. The user interface was made up of text. The applications that made up the suite were:

  • a basic word processor ("Text")
  • a spreadsheet ("Worksheet")
  • a calendar
  • a basic database program ("Filer")

The programs all fit on a 360K floppy disk. With careful manipulation, it was possible to isolate the individual applications and remove the others, placing them on separate floppies to be swapped when required. DeskMate was still required, as the individual programs could not be accessed directly.

Deskmate 3

Deskmate 3 added a number of interesting basic applications:

  • a drawing program ("Draw")
  • a simple digital audio editing program ("Sound")
  • a simple music program ("Music") which could play music with wavetable instruments created in Sound
  • an online service ("PC-Link")

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