MORE ST PRODUCTS COMING
Two new ST models, 500 megabyte CD ROM, plus lots of software in '85
by MIKE CIRAOLO and JACK POWELLAt the Consumer Electronics Show in June, Atari announced that two new ST models and a pioneering 500 megabyte ROM compact disk system would appear on dealers' shelves in time for the Christmas rush. Complete lines of integrated software for the ST were announced by three major developers. First programs from the emerging productivity series were to ship this autumn from Haba, Batteries Included and Rising Star. Haba also promised ST owners a 10 megabyte hard disk for $499 and a $299 Hayes-compatible modem.
NEW ST MODELSAtari said that both of the new ST's will have 256K RAM for programmable memory. The 260ST will retail at $399. The 260STD is to be $499 and includes a built-in 3.5" disk drive. Otherwise they are identical with the 5205T except for the following:
-GEM and the rest of the TOS operating software will be on ROM chips instead of on disk.
-The television RF modulator is to he built-in.
-The new 256K models won't ship till October or November.
How is this significantly different from the 520ST?
According to Atari Marketing Vice President James Copland, the first 2,000 U.S. units of the 520ST were shipping in June to Atari users groups. In July the 5205T would appear in computer specialty stores, and mass merchandiser distribution of the ST line would begin in the fall, Copland stated.
By June, the 520ST was already on computer store shelves in Canada and parts of Western Europe. Price of the 5205T was set at $799 and included a 3.5" disk drive, a high-resolution monochrome monitor, an external RF modulator pack-and GEM on disk, leaving 256K RAM as free memory alter loading GEM and TOS.
So all the 1985 ST's will now have 256K of usable RAM. . or will they?
ROM OR NOT?For pre-Christmas delivery, manufacturing must begin no later than September. The CES announcement of the 260ST and 260STD gave Atari all of June and July to make sure GEM and IDS were thoroughly debugged.
These newly announced 260 models will allow Atari to maintain credibility by meeting its pledge to ship the 520ST to US stores in early July. Disk updates could easily remedy any bugs found in the operating system of early 520ST's manufactured in May and June.
To Antic, the whole thing looks like another gutsy, innovative move from Atari Chairman Jack Tramiel. Much of the U.S. business press unfortunately is computer-illiterate and reports even minor production delays as putting a company's entire future in doubt. Atari needed to bring an ST to market as quickly as possible, even if in limited numbers.
Yet Tramiel had clearly learned a valuable lesson during his Commodore days, with the glitchy Commodore 64 operating system that went into ROM sooner than it should. In the long run, rushing GEM and the ST operating system into chips before it was truly ready would create user problems and be bad business.
Before and during CES, Atari kept saying that the 520ST model would never have GEM and TOS in ROM.
But just as this issue went to press, Atari president Sam Tramiel issued a statement, confirmed by Antic, that the entire finalized 520ST operating software would be made available on simple plug-in chips at "nominal cost."
CD ROMThe mind-boggling 500 megabyte CD ROM was the hottest thing at CES. It was displayed at the Atari booth by Activenture, which is developing the technology under contract with Atari.
Imagine a read-only disk that's identical to a compact audio digital disk, but which could contain a 100 volumes of reference books with room left over. And the 100 volumes of information would be instantly accessible. Only three seconds were required for the 520ST and CD ROM to search a keyword through an entire 26-volume encyclopedia.
CD ROM will work with any material that can be digitally encoded-video images, software, photographs, etc.
An exclusive interview next month in the October, 1985 Antic will cover the CD ROM breakthrough in depth.
NEW SOFTWARESoftware developers, whether at CES or responding to Antic's monthly survey, showed increasingly enthusiastic support for the ST computers.
Batteries Included announced a major ST commitment with their IS integrated software based on the GEM icon/window/mouse environment. According to Michael Reichmann, director of product development, the entire IS line will work at an intuitive -level so that users won't need to memorize any commands.
The IS line will include a word processor with built-in spelling checker , a combined spreadsheet and graphics package, a database manager, and a -stock portfolio manager. Screen structure and layout will be the same for all programs.
All programs in the IS series will be released for the Atari ST and for the IBM PC and compatible market. The first program, Portfolio, is to be available for the ST in September.
Famed stock analyst, Lee Isgur is the designer.
HABA HIPPOHaba Systems, of Van Nuys, California announced a September multiple release for the ST. There will be a word processor, HabaWord; a file and report manager, HabaFiles, a spreadsheet and graphics package, HabaCalc n Graph; and a communications program, HabaCom.
The company, which released the integrated Easy Pieces spreadsheet, word processor and database for the Apple, also said it would bring out their Hippo C language and a checkbook program for the ST in late July or early August.
Haba is known for having released over 10 Macintosh products. Now the company will convert all of its current and future programs from the Mac to the Jackintosh, starting in January 1986.
In addition to its line of software, Haba told Antic they will sell a 10 megabyte ST hard disk for $499 and a fully Hayes-compatible modem for $299. These products are called HabaDisk and HabaModem.
ST VALDOCSThe highly praised Valdocs application software series, which had been previously implemented on the Epson QX-l0 computer, will be released through Atari by Rising Star Industries. The software may be retitled, and the first two of 14 integrated modules were to come out this summer.
Among the 14 modules are a spreadsheet, database, word processor, paint program and more. The first two modules are expected to be a telecommunications program and a CAD/CAM system. Later Rising Star is to release a "core" module which integrates the entire series.
AND GAMESSierra On-Line will convert the submarine simulation game GATO for the ST. GATO puts the player in the role of a World War 11 submarine commander, searching out and attempting to destroy the Japanese Imperial Fleet.
Sierra president Ken Williams said "We want to see exactly how large these two new markets are. We figure the best way to test unknown waters is to publish a proven product with broad appeal." GATO is already, out for the IBM PC, Macintosh and Apple II with 128K.
SubLogic, publisher of the bestselling Flight Simulator II will release a new simulator called jet. Electronic Arts is expected to convert their Financial Cookbook for the ST.
Accolade/F.T.L. Software, producers of the Apple II game Sundog: Frozen legacy are converting the prizewinning hybrid game, a role-playing economic space adventure.
Several 8-bit computer games are being adapted for the 16-bit ST. Rugby Circle is working on the arcade hit Joust, for release by Atari. Datasoft plans on Zorro, a sort of Bruce Lee with swords, and Goonies, based on the summer Spielberg movie.
FORTH & WINNERForth language fans can look forward to a massive 83 Standard Forth system from the Dragon Group. It will come in three packages which include the basic Forth implementation without GEM, a Forth system including GEM calls, and an optimizer package which is intended to dramatically improve the speed of your final code. The company says it has clocked their product to be twice as fast as Mac Forth.
And Abacus Software gets the prize for delivering the very first completed ST product to Antic's office. We received their book, "Presenting the Atari ST" just as we were going to press and will review it next month.
Atari Corp. 1196 Borregas Avenue Sunnyvale, CA 94086 (408) 745-2000 Haba Systems 15154 Stagg Street Van Nuys, CA 91405 (818) 901-8828 Batteries Included 30 Mural Street Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B lBS Canada (416) 881-9941 Rising Star Industries 25500 Hawthorne, Suite 2000 Torrance, CA 90505 (213) 373-9112 Rugby Circle 1251 Rugby Circle Bloomfield Hills, MI 48013 (313) 362-0860 Dragon Group 148 Poca Fork Road Elkview, WV (304) 965-5517 Sublogic Communications Corp. 713 Edgebrook brive Champaign, IL 61820 (217) 359-8482 Accolade/F.T.L. Software 20863 Stevens Creek Boulevard Cupertino, CA (408) 446-5757 Activenture 2511-C Garden Road Monterey, CA 93940 (408) 375-2638 Sierra On-Line Sierra On-Line Building Coarsegold, CA 93614 (209) 683-6858 Abacus Software PO. Box 7211 Grand Rapids, Ml 49510 (616) 241-5510 Data soft 9421 Winnetka Avenue Chatsworth, CA 91311 (213) 701-5161 Electronic Arts 2755 Campus Drive San Mateo, CA 94403 (415) 571-7171