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New Atari machines (home UNIX at last?) [message #80397] Mon, 03 June 2013 23:22 Go to next message
cc is currently offline  cc
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Message-ID: <3097@ucla-cs.ARPA>
Date: Mon, 7-Jan-85 12:14:08 EST
Article-I.D.: ucla-cs.3097
Posted: Mon Jan  7 12:14:08 1985
Date-Received: Fri, 11-Jan-85 23:41:21 EST
Organization: UCLA Computer Club
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Xref: watmath net.micro:9029 net.micro.cbm:1064 net.micro.atari:556

  Here's more speculation with which to fuel the rumor mills:

Infoworld, Jan. 7 & 14, 1985

Reprinted here without permission, natch'.

		     Atari Awash In Product Rumors
	       Several Machines Expected at January Show

  With the Consumer Electronics Show only a week away, the home computer
industry is awash in speculation concerning Atari Corp.'s promised line
of 8-, 16-, and 32-bit machines. But Atari, through marketing manager
Bryan Kerr, will confirm only that the 8-bit computers are a continuation
of the XL series and will be fully compatible with the Atari 800XL, which was
recently reduced in price from $180 to less than $120.
  While Kerr would not comment further, sources close to the Sunnyvale,
California, firm say Atari is preparing an 8-bit, 128K computer, probably to
cost less than $250. To cut costs, Atari will not put a parallel bus on the
new machine. This means that users won't be able to plug in an 80-column
card but will have to settle for a 40-column monitor display. (The Atari
800XL comes with a parallel bus). The new machine will use a Motorola chip
from the 6500 family, probably the 6509, says a software manufacturer. The
800XL uses the 6502.
  Several other 8-bit machines are also being developed. Atari boss Jack
Tramiel may revive the Atari 1450XLD, one of Atari's higher end computers
with a built-in modem, a project killed by former Atari chairman James
Morgan. Sources overseas say that on Tramiel's recent trip to Amsterdam,
Holland, he told developers he was working on a portable computer as well as
a microcomputer with outstanding music capabilities. These machines will sell
for between $100 and $300.
  The greatest interest among industry observers has been concentrated on
the firm's more powerful 16-bit "Jackintosh" computer, a system based on the
Motorola 68000 chip used in Apple's Macintosh. Pundits are calling the Atari
brainchild a "color Macintosh". The computer will feature a version of
Graphics Environment Manager (GEM), Digital Research's newly announced
software operating environment. GEM features icons, pull-down menus, and
overlapping windows. It is not yet known whether the 16-bit system will
include a mouse. Developers at the Pacific Grove, California, software firm
say the operating environment works best with one. Digital Research says it
has also worked on the Atari proprietary operating system.
  The new 16-bit machines, which will have either 128K or 192K of random-
access memory, is expected to be sold in three configurations: the basic
computer for $399; the second unit with a built-in, 3-1/2 inch Sony disk
drive for $599; and the third package, with a disk drive and color monitor,
for $799. By comparison, the 128K IBM PCjr with one disk drive and color
monitor and the 128K Apple IIc with one disk drive and no monitor both sell
for about $900. Atari's computer will feature "full synthesizer sound," says
one East Coast software executive.
  Yet another Atari machine is reportedly in the works. According to one Atari
insider, the firm is planning to license the technology from Mindset, a start-
up company based in Sunnyvale, California. In March, Mindset announced the
Mindset micro, and IBM PC compatible offering superior graphics capabilities
as a result of two custom graphics coprocessors made from VLSI technology.
The machine, however, never made a dent in the market, and Tramiel has been
interested in the Mindset computer since he came to Atari in July. Atari may
show the Mindset micro with an Atari label on it at the Consumer Electronics
  Atari executives remain tight-lipped about their high-performance, 32-bit
computer scheduled to be unveiled in April at a Hanover, West Germany,
computer show. Some sources say the computer will run on the National
Semiconductor 32032 chip, a chip so powerful that it will make the computer
"functionally equivalent to a DEC VAX." Other sources at Atari insist the
68020 chip will be used.
  Meanwhile, Atari reports that the 800XL sales have been astronomical
since the November price cut. Stores such as Service Merchandise in San Jose,
California, say they have sold out. By the end of 1984, the Atari 800XL will
have sold more than 600,000 units since its introduction more than a year
ago, according to Kenneth Lim of Dataquest, a market research firm in San
  "Our top accountants are telling us that the computer is outselling the
Commodore 64," says Atari's Kerr. "We've had to expand our volume shipments
to our distributors."
  Since November, orders for Atari software have been exceptionally strong,
according to Michael Reichmann, director of product development at Batteries
Included, a Toronto software firm. "The demand has been unbelievable,"
Reichmann says. "I think Commodore is really running scared. Tramiel shows
that he is willing to fight tooth and nail with Commodore." Stores that
didn't want to carry Atari software are now placing orders.
  Tom Bennett, head of an Atari users group in San Leandro, California, says
he gets calls daily from owners who bought the 800XL because of the price
and now want to know what can be done with it.


  Let's hope Atari makes its new high-end machines open and expandable
(gimme slots! Lots o' slots!), increases the 128K RAM to AT LEAST 512K,
and uses FAST AND RELIABLE disk drives. After all, Atari should have
learned from the complaints about Apple's Mac. Let's hope Commodore pays
attention when it comes out with its new machines, too. We certainly don't
need a repeat of the 1541 disk drive troubles (slow and unreliable).
Re: New Atari machines (home UNIX at last?) [message #80401 is a reply to message #80397] Mon, 03 June 2013 23:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
calway is currently offline  calway
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Message-ID: <482@ecsvax.UUCP>
Date: Thu, 10-Jan-85 23:58:34 EST
Article-I.D.: ecsvax.482
Posted: Thu Jan 10 23:58:34 1985
Date-Received: Sat, 12-Jan-85 07:46:21 EST
References: <3097@ucla-cs.ARPA>
Organization: The News and Observer
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Xref: watmath net.micro:9039 net.micro.cbm:1072 net.micro.atari:559

The InfoWorld article came pretty close. Here is what Atari's marketing manager, Bryan Kerr, described
during and after the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show:

Atari's new ST line is based on the 68000 chip, running at 8 megahertz.
The 130ST will have 128K and sell for $399. The 520ST will have 512K, $599.
If there is demand, there may be an in-between model, the 260ST.
These machines will use external Sony 3 1/2-inch drives, priced at about $150
each. The computers will have build-in interfaces for floppy disk AND hard disk.
 The hard disk is due later in the year, 10 megabytes, $600.
The operating system was developed jointly by Atari and Digital Research and 
is stored with DR's Graphics Environment Manager in 192K of ROM.

The new low-end machines are the 65XE, a replacement for the 800XL, the 130XE
with 128K and the 65XEP, a portable with a small CRT screen.

If Atari can deliver the goods, this should be an interesting year.


James  Calloway
The News and Observer
Box 191
Raleigh, N.C. 27602
(919) 829-4570
Re: New Atari machines (home UNIX at last?) [message #80402 is a reply to message #80397] Mon, 03 June 2013 23:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
fred is currently offline  fred
Messages: 64
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Message-ID: <77@mot.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 11-Jan-85 09:53:49 EST
Article-I.D.: mot.77
Posted: Fri Jan 11 09:53:49 1985
Date-Received: Mon, 14-Jan-85 00:53:42 EST
References: <3097@ucla-cs.ARPA>
Organization: Motorola Microsystems, Phoenix AZ
Lines: 21

there have been references to the Atari 130ST for $299 on the net,
but i don't think i've yet seen mention of the 520ST (with 512K RAM)
which, as i recall, will come in around $599.  the printers are from
$150 and up, and the disk drives (3 1/2" floppy or hard) also from
$150 and up.  color and hi-res monochrome monitors will also be available.
perhaps someone who actually went to CES can correct my figures in case
my recall of what i heard 3rd or 4th hand is inaccurate.
     GEM and the CP/M-68k derived TOS are in 192K ROM.  interesting thing
about this architecture is that it does admit cloning, something much more
difficult to achieve with the Mac (due to proprietary OS).
     speculation about the unit to be revealed at Hanover will probably
continue to vacillate between 32032 and 68020.  National people are saying
the 32032, but then again there's what we're hearing ...
     home UNIX?  quite possibly with the 520ST or the next model.  in the
mean time, there is HP's Integral PC, a portable UNIX machine for $5K.

     p.s. it's the 6809, not the 6509, that comes from Motorola's 6800 family.
Fred Christiansen, Motorola Microsystems, 2900 S Diablo Way, Tempe, AZ 85282
{allegra,ihnp4}!sftig!mot!fred      {ihnp4,seismo}!ut-sally!oakhill!mot!fred
{ihnp4,amdahl}!drivax!mot!fred                       arizona!asuvax!mot!fred
Re: New Atari machines (home UNIX at last?) [message #83220 is a reply to message #80397] Mon, 10 June 2013 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kurt is currently offline  kurt
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Message-ID: <262@vax2.fluke.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 18-Jan-85 12:38:51 EST
Article-I.D.: vax2.262
Posted: Fri Jan 18 12:38:51 1985
Date-Received: Thu, 24-Jan-85 05:56:30 EST
Reply-To: kurt@fluke.UUCP (Kurt Guntheroth)
Organization: John Fluke Mfg. Co., Inc., Everett, WA
Lines: 48

[go ahead bug, make my day]

Some notes on the 'possibility' of Atari marketing those new machines.

1.  Atari has been talking to National for years about the 32000.  When I
was talking to National, there was always this one particular company in
California who was going to produce a consumer machine based on the 32000.
Of course they could not tell me who it was, but it couldn't have been Apple
and they said (indirectly) it wasn't IBM sooo......  This doesn't mean Atari
couldn't use the 68020.  That's the neat thing about the 32-bit processors.
If you have a C compiler, they're all alike.

2.  A hard disk for $400 is quite reasonable.  Just because the IBM crowd
wants a minimum $1000 for a 10Mb disk doesn't mean that represents a
reasonable markup.  We were able to buy a 10Mb disk (drive+drive electronics
only) for $300 in quantity one.  If you want to talk about volumes of 500K
units/year I bet the price gets even lower.  Also, the consumer industry 
operates on a relatively narrow markup over factory cost.

    Apple can sell Macintoshes to the universities for $1000.  You can bet
they aren't selling at a loss.  The Atari's don't have an expensive high
quality CRT included either, so they should be cheaper.  The pricing is
reasonable, assuming a high volume product.

3.  What design to finance?  They bought the OS from DRI.  No development
there.  I bet they could even get DRI to do the port for them (wouldn't you,
for the kind of volume they could deliver?  Remember, this is the product
that could make CP/M-68K and GEM household words.)  Designing the PCB's is
not that big a deal, the plastic case couldn't cost more than $5 million if
it was the most intricate possible design.  Fancy gate arrays have design
times of a couple of man months and the production cost for prototypes is
really negligable for a company of Atari's size.  The only thing that could
get expensive is VLSI for things like fancy video and sound chips.  These
designs may have been proceeding for some time now (it is pretty clear they
have been) so unless Atari goes belly-up this morning they will not be

    Besides, remember Traniel fired most of the staff when he took over.  The
engineering design may have been nearly complete when he came in.  All Atari
has to worry about is keeping their current products profitable (even in
bankruptcy, the creditors won't close him down if it looks like he has turned
the corner and might pay them back).  

No, I think this product is coming.  I can hardly wait.
Kurt Guntheroth
John Fluke Mfg. Co., Inc.
Re: New Atari machines (home UNIX at last?) [message #83235 is a reply to message #80397] Mon, 10 June 2013 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
fred is currently offline  fred
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Message-ID: <87@mot.UUCP>
Date: Thu, 24-Jan-85 11:19:36 EST
Article-I.D.: mot.87
Posted: Thu Jan 24 11:19:36 1985
Date-Received: Mon, 28-Jan-85 07:00:51 EST
References: <262@vax2.fluke.UUCP>
Organization: Motorola Microsystems, Phoenix AZ
Lines: 19

Computer Systems News for this week indicates that Atari, Commodore,
ACT, and Apricot (ACT USA) have all signed up for GEM.  Moreover,
GEM and Concurrent DOS are being readied, the article continues, for
licensing by anybody for about anything.  [Shades of Unix?]
	The story then says Atari's business machine will be based upon
the 68020.  This is the first public reference I have seen on this,
and it is stated quite positively.  Considering the previous press items
suggesting it would be Series 32000 based, it looks like the rumor mills
are about balanced between the two, now.
Fred Christiansen, Motorola Microsystems, 2900 S Diablo Way, Tempe, AZ 85282
{allegra,ihnp4}!sftig!mot!fred      {ihnp4,seismo}!ut-sally!oakhill!mot!fred
{ihnp4,amdahl}!drivax!mot!fred                ucbvax!arizona!asuvax!mot!fred
Fred Christiansen, Motorola Microsystems, 2900 S Diablo Way, Tempe, AZ 85282
{allegra,ihnp4}!sftig!mot!fred      {ihnp4,seismo}!ut-sally!oakhill!mot!fred
{ihnp4,amdahl}!drivax!mot!fred                ucbvax!arizona!asuvax!mot!fred
Re: Re: New Atari machines (home UNIX at [message #85917 is a reply to message #83235] Mon, 17 June 2013 17:20 Go to previous message
tucker is currently offline  tucker
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Message-ID: <56600002@ccvaxa.UUCP>
Date: Wed, 6-Feb-85 10:08:00 EST
Article-I.D.: ccvaxa.56600002
Posted: Wed Feb  6 10:08:00 1985
Date-Received: Fri, 8-Feb-85 02:07:45 EST
References: <87@mot.UUCP>
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Nf-ID: #R:mot:-8700:ccvaxa:56600002:000:694
Nf-From: ccvaxa!tucker    Feb  6 09:08:00 1985

    On the point of Atari designing there own Video chips for the ST, I
don't think so.  The specs given for the ST machine look exactly like
those for Motorola's new RMS/X color video controller chip set.  A nice
chip set that has everything one could want for a personal computer.  The
only question of mine is availability.  The chip set isn't going to
be available in production numbers for a few months still at least I
think.  The same for the floppy/harddisk interface that is supposed to
come standard.  Motorola has a new VLSI chip set designed to handle that
too.  All these chips were designed with the 68000 in mind.  Now if
someone like Atari would only use them for something...
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