Atari 130XE

After Tramiel took over Atari he also had a plan to push the old 8 bit computers by making price cuts and producing new models which were cheaper to produce. The 130XE and 65XE (Europe: 800XE) were the result. They came in the same case as the ST series and had a similar keyboard. The 130XE offered 128 KB ram and no extra modes. The extra ram was mainly used as a ram disk.

Atari ST

In January Atari shocked their competitor Commodore and the rest of the computer world with the first affordable 16/32-bit computer: the Atari ST was presented at the CES. There were some striking similarities to the Mac like the 68000 CPU and a graphical environment. The b/w monitor SM124 was brilliant at that time (71hz) and later became a sort of trademark for the ST series. Most people couldn't believe that such a computer should cost only 1800 dollar (3500 DM) - much cheaper than the Macintosh. The press gave him severall nicknames including Atari Jackintosh.

Atari first planned to sell a 130ST with only 128 KB - but this model was rejected probably because there would be less than 64 KB left after booting up the computer. Instead of this prototype the 520ST was sold with 512 KB RAM. Most people were wondering what to with such an large amount of memory. However, if they used the very first version of ST-Basic there were only a few KB's left for own programs.

Shortly after the 520ST the 520ST+ and 260ST were released. These two variants were an exception to the Atari rule to include the available memory in the computer name. Both computers were quickly dropped in favor of the 1040STF.

Commodore Amiga

Six months after Atari Commodore and the developers of the original Amiga had completed the Amiga 1000. It was a dream machine right from the start, graphic and sound were impressing. The sound chip Paula worked with sound samples which was a difference to all other sound chips used at that time in home computers. The HAM mode (Hold-and-Modify) was capable to display 4096 colors at once.

Commodore decided to market the Amiga as a "Mediacomputer" and a threat to the IBM PC and Apple Mac. The original developers soon lost their influence on the Amiga - they were only invited to the presentations. The Amiga was sold with a price twice as high as Atari sold their ST. It took a while until the first Amigas were sold and Commodore found a strong software development partner in Electronic Arts. The first products were games, image applications and sound editors. Applications like word processors couldn't compete with the IBM ones.

The reason for the delay in the development of the Amiga was that the computer was first designed to be the perfect video game system. Therefore it didn't need such things as a operating system. After Commodore bought the Amiga company they gave order to built a computer out of the video game system. An existing operating system ┬┤Trippos┬┤ by Metacomco was bought without the knowledge of the Amiga team. Parts of the Amiga team were later also involved in the development of the Atari Lynx and 3DO.

Steve Jobs leaves Apple

Apple was in a serious situation. The Macintosh wasn't much of a success and the presentation of Atari's ST hit the company hard. Only the still good sales of the Apple II kept the company alive. The results were job cuts and internal disputes. The main dispute was held by Apple founder and computer visionar Steve Jobs and the manager John Sculley. Steve Jobs one of the inventors of the Mac left the company and sold his Apple shares except for one. He founded a new computer comany called NeXT and presented the first NeXT computer in 1989.

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(C) 2001-2014 by Matthias Jaap. Last update: 31/12/2014.