Hello from Michigan! We're anxious to hear about our fellow
Atarians in the U.K. We also want to let you know what's going on here
in the U.S.
So, what's the latest from the U.S.A.? I had the pleasure of
attending the International Summer Consumer Electronics Show held this
past June in the City of Chicago. On display were the latest in
anything electronic including telephones, satellite-TV technology,
audio disk players, computers and some new introductions by your
friends and mine from Sunnyvale, Atari Inc.
At the show ATARI introduced four (yes, four!) new computers. They
are the 600XL, 800XL, 1400XL, and 1450XLD. The 600XL is a 16K machine
upgradeable to 64K. It has a full stroke keyboard (no more membrane
keys - yeah!). The 800XL is a 64K featuring built-in Basic like
all the new machines and also a monitor output. The 1400XL features
built-in modem and speech synthesis via a Votrax chip. It has 64K and
like the 600XL and 800XL is in similar style to the 1200XL.
What of the 1200XL? Seemed strange, but I didn't see too many
there. In fact in three days the only one I saw was the one ATARI used
for demonstration. Anyone who displayed ATARI software used an 800, I
overheard that changes were to be made to physically accept third
party cartridges and the OS changed to run third party software.
Another rumour is complete phasing out of the unit, but don't quote me
on any of this.
The ATARI 1450XLD. Ah, yes. "With built-in disk drive, it's
the ultimate in integrated computer capabilities", or so say the
boys from California. Double-sided dual density built-in disk drive,
74K and CP/M upgradeable through access to the serial bus and
expansion module, ATARI you HAVE been listening to us after all! The
1450XLD also sports the built-in phone modem and speech synthesis
capabilities of the 1400XL. All the new models incorporate the HELP
key and are expandable via the new 1060 expansion module (get out your
80 column boards again!).
Also new from sunny California are ATARI's letter quality printer
(1027), dot-matrix printer (1025) and printer/plotter in four colours
(1020). A new cassette recorder (1010), direct connect phone modem
(1030), dual density disk drive in the slim-line styling (1050) and
DOS 3.0 to support it. Also a trak-ball, touch graphics tablet and VCS
2600 keyboard and computer adaptor - called "My First
Computer" and under $90 - all proud additions to the ATARI line.
You want PAC-MAN but don't have an ATARI computer? Well, ATARI
won't deprive you of it much longer. It's exclusive titles are now
coming out for the IBM-PC, TI99/4 as well as the VIC-20. ATARI owners
will also see DIG-DUG, JOUST and DONKEY KONG JR coming out for the
world's best computer.
Some other show stoppers at ISCES: Colecovision's new ADAM computer
system and Mattel's AQUARIUS both complete systems for a low, low
price. Also AMDEK had a complete display of monitors and their new
3.25 inch (I mean 9cm) cartridge-disk drive for the ATARI.
If all these surprises aren't enough for you, you'll have to wait
for next winter's show in Las Vegas. If you can't get away, watch for
my report following the show.