1. Not old. Vintage. :)

Oric Telestrat / Stratos – a review of the "Super" Oric

Discussion in 'SIG: 8-Bit Hardware' started by Andy Barr, Jan 13, 2021 at 12:37 PM.

  1. Andy Barr

    Andy Barr Chief Officer

    Blog Posts:
    A lot of you guys have asked about the "Super" Oric before - What was it? Any good? Why are they so expensive? etc etc.

    Here we go - a wee review for your to get your retro claws into, fellas:


    The Oric Telestrat is an unusual computer and did not at all experience the commercial success expected by the French distributor, probably because of the high price of its configuration and the competition it had to face from 1985-1986.

    Its creation was special because this machine is in fact the result of a previous intermediate version between the Atmos and the Telestrat, to which the name of Stratos had been given and which was presented for the first time to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in February 1985.

    Unfortunately, Oric Products International was at the end of its life, riddled with debt and losing market share in England. Through fear of filing for bankruptcy, Oric was bought by Eureka in mid-1985 and then became a French company. It should be remembered that at the start of the 1980s, France was Oric's biggest market. Eureka therefore received “baby Stratos” in the new bride's basket.

    The machine had been developed in England by the team of Peter Waterworth then research director of the project at Oric. It had impressive features even if it used the same 6502 at 1 Mhz as its predecessor. With the Stratos we now had two ports for pluggable Rom cartridges, one of which was designed to accommodate the Basic interpreter and the home OS. These Roms could go up to 120 KB; enough to develop very advanced applications! On the Ram side, the device had 176 KB broken down into a user portion of 64 KB and 7 switchable banks of 16 KB. To complete its connections to the outside, the Stratos had two joysticks connectors, an RS-232C socket, a modem connector (V23) and even an integrated disk controller.

    Indeed, from the start of the project, it was envisaged to add to Statos an expansion box equipped with a Z80 processor and floppy disk drives, thus opening the door to the CP / M standard. Oric took up an idea in vogue and already exploited by certain competitors such as Memotech for example or Spectravideo.

    Finally, after the takeover of Oric, the Stratos was to be somewhat redesigned by Eureka to make it compatible with French communication protocols. It was then renamed Telestrat, a name made up from TELEmatique and STRATos. At that time, the Minitel was beginning to impose itself in many homes and France was discovering teletext news services. Several manufacturers had therefore joined the bandwagon and had launched the fashion of communication machines such as the Exeltel or the Thomson TO9. Marketing of the Telestrat therefore began in the spring of 1986 but the enthusiasm of buyers was only moderate; the machine was quite expensive, and production ceased definitively in 1987 for lack of sufficient sales to meet the firm's expectations ...

    Oric Telestrat / Stratos - summary.

    The positive points :

    - Good development possibilities with its two cartridge ports and its bus.

    - Communications machine (via the modem of a Minitel) able to mount a mini PSTN server.

    - A new very extensive Basic interpreter, HyperBasic (on cartridge and accompanied by the OS).

    - A Basic compiled and no longer interpreted (therefore much faster).

    - Possibility to use the microdisc drive of the Atmos thanks to an emulation cartridge.

    negative points :

    - High price.

    - Launched too late.

    - Technical flaws (pcb of non-functional Midi socket).

    - Joystick controller fault (impossible to connect 2 simultaneously).

    - Severe competition, especially from the Amiga.

    So there you have it. Come the end of lockdown, you'll be able to bluff your way as an Oric Telestrat expert the next time you're propping up the bar in the Retro Return.

    Translated from: http://mo5.com/musee-machines-telestrat.html

    All rights acknowledged to MO5.com

    kokkiklhs and nysavant like this.
  2. nysavant

    nysavant Deckhand

    Blog Posts:
    Nice Andy. Another tale of too little too late on the home computer front. It'sa sexy beast sure enough with the best colour scheme of any micro, but I think I still prefer the simpler lines of the Atmos.
    Andy Barr likes this.

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