From the beginning, Intellivision's packaging and promotional materials as well as television commercials, promised the addition of a soon-to-be-available accessory called the "Keyboard Component". The Intellivision was designed as a modular home computer. The Master Component could be purchased as a stand-alone video game system and the Keyboard Component could be added, providing the computer keyboard and tape drive. Not meant to be a hobbyist or business computer, the Intellivision home computer was meant to run pre-programmed software and bring "data flow" (Videotex) into the home.
The Keyboard Component added an 8-bit 6502 processor making the Intellivision a dual processor computer. It had 16K 10-bit shared RAM that could load and execute both Intellivision CP1610 and 6502 program code from tape; a large amount as typical cartridges of the day were 4K. The cassettes have two tracks of digital data and two tracks of analog audio completely controlled by the computer. Two tracks are read only for the software, and two tracks for user data. The tape-drive was block addressed with high speed indexing. A high resolution 40x24 monochrome text display could overlay regular Intellivision graphics. There was an input for a microphone and two expansion ports for peripherals and RAM expansion. The Microsoft BASIC programming cartridge used one of these ports. Expanded memory cartridges could support 1000 8KB pages. A third pass-through cartridge port was for regular Intellivision cartridges. It uses the Intellivision's power supply. A 40-column thermal printer was available, and a telephone modem was planned along with voice synthesis and voice recognition.
David Rolfe of APh wrote a control program for the Keyboard Component called PicSe (Picture Sequencer) specifically for the development of multimedia applications. PicSe synchronized the graphics and analog audio while concurrently saving or loading data to tape. Productivity software for home finances, personal improvement, and self education were planned. Subject experts were consulted and their voices recorded and used in the software.
Three applications using the PicSe system were released on cassette tape:
Jack Lalanne's Physical Conditioning
Five BASIC applications were released on tape: Programs written in BASIC did not have access to Intellivision graphics and would be sold at a lower price.
Crosswords I, II, and III