Z*Magazine: 12-Jan-87 #34From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/08/93-09:37:02 AM Z
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 19-Jan-87 #35"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 5-Jan-87 #33"
- Return to Index: Sort by: [ date ] [ author ] [ thread ] [ subject ]
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 12-Jan-87 #34 Date: Thu Jul 8 09:37:02 1993 ----------------------------------- Zmagazine January 12, 1987 Issue 34 ----------------------------------- Zmag Staff: Publisher/Editor in Chief:Ron Kovacs Editor/Coordinator:Alan Kloza Software Reviewer: Eric Plent ----------------------------------- ____________________________________ This Week in Zmag...... <*> SPECIAL REPORTS ON THE WINTER CES <*> ATARI MEGA-ST'S TO DEBUT <*> NEW ATARI IBM CLONES <*> ATARI TO MARKET LASER PRINTER <*> OTHER CES HIGHLIGHTS LASER DISCS AND VIDEO <*> ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY OUTLOOK TROUBLE AHEAD? All this and more in this weeks edition of Zmagazine..... ___________________________________ Xx PUBLISHER'S DESK ...Zmag CES Coverage............... ___________________________________ CES '87 Reports --------------- At the time of this writing, the 1987 CES Show is just beginning. In this issue of Zmag we hope to carry all the news we can possibly fit. Since we are in a better position this year, with our new publication date, we can now carry a show's events in one issue. We hope you find all the articles of interest. We have a few sources that are supplying information. Antic Online, CompuServe's Online Today and also from Lennart Ollsson in Sweden. New products that look exciting are Atari's new under $1000 laser printer, and their super-inexpensive IBM clones. More on those later. Canon is showing a personal FAX machine that doubles as a copier, but it's priced at $2000 or so. Pioneer's is showing its new LaserDisc Players, there's RDAT Digital Tape Decks, phone equipment, and more. All in all, another impressive show for consumer electronics. First up is Lennart Ollsson and the message we received from him in regards to the new products that Atari Corp. is set to unleash on the international computer scene. ____________________________________ Xx NEWS FROM EUROPE ...Getting a Scoop On Atari's New Computers................. ____________________________________ EasyPlex Date: 08-Jan-87 15:23 EST From: Lennart Olsson [76254,467] Subj: New Atari Machines! BIX is fantastic when it comes to forward the latest news. I just captured today's press releases from Atari Corp... Now I know why the PC emulator took so long...they made an Atari PC compatible with IBM PC/XT. The EST (enhanced) was announced earlier this week. Today the Mega ST was uncovered. It will have a detached keyboard, 1-4 megabytes of RAM expandable to 16 MB, built-in 3 1/2" 800kB disk drive, an expansion slot in-side, bus extension outside, sturdy case so a monitor can stand on it, etc etc. For you and me this may be the electronic publishing machine we are waiting for...? (Must compare it to Apple Paris though...) A laserprinter for approx. $1500 will also be available later. It will not be as smart as other but this may be good. After all it's easier to control things if everything is managed inside the workstation.(?) It requires a Mega ST though. A 1 meg 1040ST is not enough. Maybe a 4 meg 1040ST is? At this writing nothing of the above could be found here on CIS. Now I will call (try!) your BBS to tell you that this msg is waiting for you. Happy Atari new year <grin>, Lennart ___________________________________ Xx CES SHOW HIGHLIGHTS ...Atari Corp. Comes On Strong..... ___________________________________ ANTIC PUBLISHING INC., COPYRIGHT 1987. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION. Atari at CES -- Winter 1987 A sneak preview of what's new. (Las Vegas -- January 7) -- The motto of Tramiel's Atari Corporation has just been updated. Instead of "Power Without The Price," Atari's battle cry is "Where the Action Is." The action started with three major hardware announcements from Atari. First is Atari's introduction of the new "Mega" ST series. Atari has altered their 16-bit product line in both features and styling. The new STs are component systems, similar in appearance to an IBM PC, but less "clunky" -- they bear a sleek micro-stereo component look. A detachable keyboard connects via cable to a separate box housing the CPU, an included double-density 3 1/2 inch drive and a battery-sustained real- time calendar clock. Cosmetically, the Mega STs are the same dove-gray ST color, the separated keyboard resembling a 1040 ST with the diagonal vent area sliced off. The keyboard, by the way, has a much crisper feel to it than current ST keyboards, although key layout and the keytops themselves remain unchanged. The new STs are designed as "open architecture" machines. Expansion devices such as add-on cards might be plugged into a peripheral box, which would then connect to the ST through the DMA port or bus expansion connector. In the future, such a box could feature dedicated chips, such as the new Motorola 68020 and the 68881 math co-processor, giving blinding speed to graphics processing, real-time animation and other memory intensive, number- crunching functions. The Mega STs will be available in 1, 2 and 4 megabyte configurations, with prices reportedly starting at around $995. And yes, the Mega STs come with the blitter chip built in. The second major announcement was the Atari ST Desktop Publishing System. An Atari ST "host" computer will serve as the front end for a laser printer "engine." As of this writing (Wednesday night, before CES officially opens) the manufacturer of Atari's laser printer has not been identified. (Perhaps Atari will name names at their press conference at 9:00 Thursday morning.) However, John Skruch at Atari told Antic Publishing the manufacturer was "one of the three biggest names in the laser printer business." The Atari laser printer promises virtually typeset quality electophotographic print technology with a 300 dot-per-inch resolution. Third, and probably most unusual of Atari's new hardware announcements, was the Atari IBM PC compatible. That's right -- Atari has jumped into Compaq, Leading Edge and Hyundai territory by announcing their own IBM PC "clone" -- to retail for an amazing $495. The new Atari PC features an 8088 microprocessor with a switchable clock speed of 4.77 MHz or 8MHz. The PC will come with 512K standard, expandable to 640K of RAM, plus 256K of screen RAM. As Atari's press information states, the PC "supports these graphics modes: enhanced color adaptor (EGA), color graphics adaptor, monochrome display adaptor and Hercules graphics cards." The resolution is 640 X 350, either monochrome or color. The PC is equipped with standard ports: parallel printer ports, RS232C serial port, plus built-in mouse support. Not surprisingly, it comes with a detachable keyboard (IBM PC/XT layout), and will accept a 8087 numeric coprocessor. The CPU box has a 360K 5 1/4-inch disk drive built in, and can accept two additional external drives. The PC's styling is similar to Atari's new STs -- either one would look sexy sitting on an executive (or home) desk. Atari hopes to use its PC as a front-end vehicle for their laser printer, and claims the PC will run "thousands of pieces of IBM software." Those were the major Atari stories breaking before CES had actually started. Read on for reports on what's new in both 16- and 8-bit software and third-party peripherals for your favorite computers. ___________________________________ Xx ATARI DEBUTS NEW PRODUCTS ...Reports From CES................ ___________________________________ REPRINTED BY PERMISSION. A Phoenix From The Ashes Atari and The Winter 1987 CES By Jon Bell and Matt Loveless Editor, Consulting Editor, START Magazine (Las Vegas -- January 8) -- "Now, in 1987, we are declaring war on the computer business in the United States." These were the words of Sam Tramiel, as Atari kicked off the first day of CES with a 9:00 a.m. press conference at the Dunes Hotel. "We are the number one computer in West Germany, in the home computer business and the personal computer business," he said, before adding that those interested could check with the German press and confirm that fact. Atari's stance at the press conference wasn't merely confident, it was ruthlessly aggressive. The Tramiels made two points loud and clear: Atari Corporation has conquered overseas markets with its products, most notably the ST, and has established a firm foothold as a major player in the personal computer industry. The second point: Atari has now fulfilled its financial obligations to its patient former parent, Warner Communications, and is now no longer shackled to Warner. Atari's stock offering gave it an infusion of cash which enabled it to pay off its loan from Warner. According to an article in the December 15, 1986 issue of Business Week, Jack Tramiel flew to New York City and presented Warner Communications officials with a check for $36 million, thus effectively closing down Atari's debt. (Late-breaking financial note: Atari's stock rose 2 1/2 points today, 17 1/2, up from 15. The stock has risen 6 points overall since it was first offered in November.) Now completely free of the Warner mantle, Jack Tramiel has stopped looking over his shoulder at Atari's troubled past and is instead staring intently into his company's future. At the press conference, he reiterated his "Business is War" philosophy in no uncertain terms: "The customer who supports my products knows what he wants. If you don't give him the right products at the right prices, he stops buying -- which is exactly what happened in 1985. Even giants, companies like IBM, have started to realize this and follow my footsteps, and keep reducing prices. That's the only way they can sell. And I'm not sure that they'll be able to catch up." "IBM gave their business to the Far East on a silver platter because their prices were so high. And they just allowed all those people to compete with them. We at Atari have no intention of following their footsteps. We will try to always have the most innovative products -- constantly coming up with new products at the right prices. The philosophy continues, the philosophy is successful." "THE FUN IS BACK" Atari formally introduced its new product line, from revamped videogames to its IBM PC compatible, with a short videotape presentation. Videogames, which sent Atari Inc. into billion-dollar-a-year profitability and then sent it spiraling almost into oblivion, have re-emerged at Tramiel's Atari Corp. The venerable Atari warhorse, the 2600, has been given a facelift and is now selling at a retail price of under $50. The new 7800 game system, which James Morgan introduced in those last terrible months before the Tramiel takeover, is heralded as the next generation of videogame. It includes a copy of Pole Position, and will retail for under $90. The 7800 features better than XE-quality graphics and sound, and will accept the new "Supergame" cartridges from such companies as Broderbund, Epyx and Electronic Arts. The first titles to be released include Karateka, Choplifter, Summer Games, One On One Basketball and Skyfox. Sam Tramiel then mentioned a third new videogame system from Atari -- the XE System. It was displayed (not running) in a glass case at the Atari booth. The XE System is a small, squarish box which doesn't resemble a standard videogame. Its sharp angles and round, pastel buttons give it an unusual, almost art-deco appearance. According to Tramiel, it is fully expandable with a plug-in keyboard and disk drive, turning it into an introductory computer. It will be available 2nd quarter of 1987. THE MEGA ST SYSTEMS "I introduced the first personal computer 10 years ago," said Jack Tramiel. "It was called the PET. It was a 4K machine. Today we announced a 4-megabyte machine." From 4K to 4000K in 10 years is an incredible feat of technological evolution, and the new Mega STs represent another link in that evolutionary computer chain. As we mentioned in our first report, the Mega STs will be sold in 1, 2 and 4 megabyte configurations. They feature detachable keyboards (with improved, crisper keyboard "feel"), a separate CPU box housing a double density 3 1/2 inch drive, built-in blitter chip, expansion bus and power supply, and use the new one-megabyte DRAMs. A mouse port and joystick port are in the back of the ST keyboard unit, near the center. The keyboard itself is attached with a length of coiled cable, using standard phone jacks. The usual ST ports (DMA, MIDI, etc.) are arranged in the back of the CPU box. The box also serves as a monitor platform. Atari's new 20-megabyte hard disk fits in the same "footprint" as the CPU and can be placed between CPU and monitor, adding only another inch. UNDER $1500 LASER PRINTER Conventional laser printers offered by other companies require hundreds of dollars worth of microprocessor and support electronics. But the Atari ST's high-speed DMA port, coupled with the raw horsepower of the 68000 microprocessor, allows the ST to drive their new laser printer directly, thereby lowering the price. At the show, Atari announced a desktop publishing system, which will include a two megabyte Mega ST and an Atari Laser Printer, for less than $3000. The 300 dot-per-inch laser printer will also be sold separately for under $1500. A spring delivery date was announced. In the Atari booth, a Mega ST2 (2-meg) was actually printing high-resolution, excellent quality press releases (about one per second), giving true meaning to the phrase, "hot off the press." Although Atari was reluctant to identify the manufacturer of the printer engine, experts recognized the show model as a Canon. The Canon engine is known for its low price. However, it supposedly has a limited print life. Also, it is good for small-quantity printing, but the per-copy price is relatively high. Antic Publishing was unable to determine if Canon will be the actual supplier for the final version. When asked at the press conference, Sam Tramiel identified the supplier as "Japan, Inc." (Editor's note: since Canon is not known for extremely low volume prices to OEM vendors (such as Atari Corp.), our assumption is that the final Atari laser printer will not use a Canon engine.) Within 90 days we may even see a laser printer development kit, allowing software to interface with virtually any laser printer engine. This will open the market for third party manufacturers, both high- and low-end, and make the Atari one of the most versatile (and inexpensive) desktop publishing systems around. For less than the price of a Macintosh, you can get a Mega ST2, an Atari Laser Printer, and the software to drive it. THE ATARI IBM PC COMPATIBLE As mentioned in the first CES report, Atari has announced the first in a proposed series of IBM-compatible computers. There will be two configurations of the Atari PC: a $499 version, with a IBM PC/XT-styled keyboard and CPU only; and the $699 version, which will include a "tri-sync EGA monochrome monitor." (The actual PC hardware is identical; only the packages offered are different.) The monitor has a 720 X 348 high-resolution display. Both computers come with mouse ports and mouse, built-in parallel, serial and SCSI ports, one 5 1/4 inch 360K disk drive (built into the CPU box), and 512K RAM expandable to 640K RAM. They also include 256K of dedicated screen RAM, which makes the entire 512K of system RAM available to developers. Atari will also market an expansion box which will accomodate up to five AT-sized add-on boards. The Atari PC comes with (unheard-of) graphics support built in: EGA (enhanced graphics adaptor), CGA (color graphics adaptor), Hercules and IBM monochrome. With an EGA monitor, the PC will support 640 X 350 pixels resolution. Most EGA monitors retail for over a thousand dollars, however sources at Atari indicate they are working on an extremely low-priced EGA color monitor. You can also hook up a standard ST 3 1/2 inch disk drive and read and write IBM laptop disks, making the transferral of text files in that format an easy task. (Note: this does NOT mean you can run ST software on the Atari PC.) The Atari PC will be bundled with the GEM Desktop from Digital Research along with other applications. The "juicy gossip" mentioned in the first report: it is rumored that Microsoft Windows will be available for the PC. (Also, Windows MIGHT be available for the new Mega STs.) Who makes the Atari PC? Unlike many of the compatibles on the market, Atari manufactures the PC in their 200,000 square-foot Taiwan plant, where they make all their equipment. Atari officials quickly dismissed concern that their PC indicated any abandonment of their ST line. John Skruch of Atari likened the situation to a software house manufacturing products for differing computers: Atari is an electronics company specializing in computers, and their PC is simply an entrance into another market. (You should also consider that Commodore is showing both their standard Amiga and an IBM PC clone at CES. Commodore has sold their clone in Europe for the last year or so, and are just now attempting to market it in the U.S.) "The importance of this machine," says Sam Tramiel, "is that someone can take it home, open the box, and be ready to run. You don't have to plug in cards or extra things; you have everything you need, right off the bat." THE FUTURE ATARI Looking forward, Jack Tramiel proffered the following to the press: "We almost started believing the press -- about how bad it [Atari's viability] really was. Well, the press is wrong. It seems that the customers want to buy the right product at the right price. 1986. was a fantastic year, and 1987 will be much, much, much better." ___________________________________ Xx MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM CES ....High-Tech Heaven In Vegas...... ___________________________________ Atari Corp. wasn't the only computer manufacturer at CES but because of Zmag space limitations, its the only one that we're reporting on in this issue of Zmagazine. Look for other CES computer news in the next few issues of Zmag as it becomes available to us. Besides computers and computer soft- ware, Las Vegas Convention Centers were overflowing with the latest in audio and video technology. Online Reporter Dawn Gordon describes what she saw as some of the highlights of the high-tech extravaganza. Cloud Nine, the company that Steve Wozniak founded released its long awaited super remote control. Called CORE, it has 16K or RAM, a supercharged infrared emitter, a clock/timer and it does everything but wash the dog. Some of its functions include: allowing the user to program events- days, weeks, or months in advance and provide a time control for home electronic products that don't have one. CORE can turn any inexpensive wire- less VCR into a multi-event, multi- day deck. The unit works in very much the same way as GE's Control Central, but is much more powerful. Panasonic was showing there new 31 inch monitor-receiver. The unit boasts excellent display and will be available in July at a cost rumored to be in the $2000 range. Panasonic was also showing a new high speed VHS-C camcorder (PV-100) that is switchable between the normal 1/60 of a second and 1/1000 of a second. The new high speed reduces blurring. Pioneer was out in full force with its new LD-838D LaserDisc player. The first one from them that has digital audio without CD capability. Pioneer also showed its SD-1 digital special effects LaserDisc player. Some video tidbits: a product called VCR Dirt Alert was shown by a company called Video Dynamics. The unit plugs into the AC line and the VCR plugs into it, and it will beep when the VCR has accrued 40 hours of recording/playback. This way you'll know when its time to clean the heads. For the couch potato who has everything, I suppose. From the hard to believe department- it seems that we may be in for yet another video format. VHS Super is in the works and it's claimed to have 460 lines of resolution and uses metal tape. According to the rumor, this system is incompatible with the current VHS (although it will use the same cassette shell) but is supposed to play back regular VHS tapes. On the telephone front Code-A-Phone was showing one of the lowest priced answering machines around. At only $79.95 the Model 900 features a variable length announcement, VOX operation, auto-on, memo recording, an LED call counter, and power failure backup protection. Northwestern Bell showed 2 FAX machines. The Faxline is a combination fax/telephone that doubles as a personal copier and features G2 and G3 compatibility, 15 second transmission speed and 60 number auto-dialing for $2,299. The Travelfax is a portable unit that will operate from anywhere, including a mobile telephone. It costs $1,399. If you've ever had the nightmare of waking up to a dead car battery, worry no more. Chronar has introduced the Auto Charger. This solar-powered unit will keep your car battery at peak efficiency by producing a trickle-charge to the battery when your car is not in use. It won't work in an indoor garage but for $29.95, it may be a good idea for tractors, RV's and boats. __________________________________ Xx THE BACK PAGE ...State of the Industry.......... __________________________________ Although Atari and many other companies present at the Winter 1987 CES were optimistically forecasting good times ahead, other analysts have a decidedly different outlook for the upcoming year in the electronics industry. CONSUMER ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY WORRIED OVER '87 PREDICTIONS (Jan. 9) Although 1986 was the best sales year ever for the consumer electronics industry, manufacturers and dealers are not happy. According to The Washington Post, an atmosphere of apprehension triggered by a stronger Japanese yen, tougher competition for the consumer dollar and sliding profit margins is pervading the Winter Consumer Electronics Show now taking place in Las Vegas. Factory sales increased 14 percent last year, but predictions call for just half that in 1987. More importantly, the industry is continuing its traditional pattern of revenue growth without similar increases in profits, according to Frank Myers, industry vice president of the Electronic Industries Association. "We must find ways to make profits keep pace with increases in sales volume," he said. Complicating all this, is the dramatic rise over the past year of the yen against the dollar, notes The Post. Because so many of the leading consumer electronic manufacturers are Japanese, they are now agonizing over whether to raise their prices or accept significantly lower profit margins from their US sales. One analyst said, "The day of continually cheaper Japanese consumer electronics goods may be gone." "We're bleeding just like anyone else. The yen eats up any efficiencies we get from volume production," said John Witt, a vice president of Citizen Watch, a Japanese manufacturer of pocket televisions. Because of this, the Japanese are reportedly investigating setting up manufacturing arrangements offshore in an effort to skirt the strong yen. Despite these attempts, The Post predicts consumer electronics form South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore will erode Japan's share of the market in the United States. --Cathryn Conroy ------------------------------------ Zmagazine Issue 34 January 12, 1987 Please Contribute!!! ------------------------------------
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 19-Jan-87 #35"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 5-Jan-87 #33"
----------------------------------------- Return to message index