1. Not old. Vintage. :)
Timothy Kline

Z*Magazine: 12-Jan-87 #34

Z*Magazine: 12-Jan-87 #34

  1. Timothy Kline
    Article #36 (214 is last):
    From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
    Subject: Z*Magazine: 12-Jan-87 #34
    Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
    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......







    All this and more in this weeks
    edition of Zmagazine.....

    ...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

    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.

    ...Getting a Scoop On Atari's
    New Computers.................

    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

    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 ,

    ...Atari Corp. Comes On Strong.....


    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

    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

    Those were the major Atari stories
    breaking before CES had actually

    Read on for reports on what's new
    in both 16- and 8-bit software and
    third-party peripherals for your
    favorite computers.

    ...Reports From CES................


    A Phoenix From The Ashes
    Atari and The Winter 1987 CES
    By Jon Bell and Matt Loveless
    Editor, Consulting Editor, START

    (Las Vegas -- January 8) -- "Now,
    in 1987, we are declaring war on the
    computer business in the United

    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

    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

    (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."


    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.


    "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.


    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

    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.


    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

    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

    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."


    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."

    ....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

    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

    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

    ...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.


    (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

    "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

    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
    --Cathryn Conroy

    Zmagazine Issue 34 January 12, 1987
    Please Contribute!!!