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Banana Jr. Series Computer

The Banana computer was first introduced in 1984, and was labeled as "Jr." to emphasize its affordability. This obscure computer system had a number of innovative hardware and software features. Many of these features were too far ahead of its time, and it had many shortcomings which ultimately doomed it to failure.

Notable features included:

  • A fully graphical operating environment.
  • A powerful word processing, spreadsheet, and management package.
  • Powerful 32-bit CPU.
  • Speech recognition.
  • User friendly interactive AI interface.
The shortcomings included:
  • Some assembly was was required by end users. (Quite a bit of assembly actually)
  • Reportedly the documentation for the 9000 model was shipped with the 6000 model causing some confusion.
  • The interactive AI was very uncooperative. (This AI is now being used by Microsoft in Windows XP)
  • Problems with the self-portability features were suspected, but never proven, to be the cause of Banana Jr. owners often finding their kitchen appliances lying in front of their living room televisions.
The Banana Computer Company went out of business in April of 1985. Reportedly it was a painful demise for the company, losing $319 million in march alone. The chairman of the board did a swan dive out of a 63rd floor window after painting "capitalism sucks" across his chest. The brains behind the design of the Banana Jr. , Berke Breathed, reportedly went insane and became a cartoonist. The Banana Jr. was discontinued and the platform abandoned.

Although I have not been able to get any screen shots of the Banana Jr. software in action, I recently came across some Banana Jr. resources that are quite interesting. The above is a Banana Jr. boot screen extracted from a boot disk.

This is a small desktop icon that was also extracted from the disk.

As it turns out, Microsoft began including technology from the Banana Jr. in Microsoft Office 98 Macintosh Edition where it appears as a special office assistant. The more problematic parts of the Banana Jr. AI are being used in Windows XP with more to come in the next version of Windows (currently code named "Longhorn").