Yep, but dont forget that Atari did everything "without the price".
So the TT, for example, had a VGA-like output. It plugs into a modern VGA monitor, and its the same pins, but the specification is just slightly
I think that Atari must have done this all along as a strategy. After all the Atari ST's hard drive port used a 50-pin connector, juts like Mac SCSI. But they just changed it a little
. Making the SCSI (Small Computer System Interface), sorry ASCI (Atari Computer Systems Interface) just automatically assign device numbers on the chain. Also I think some very very slight other differences.
So, I am guessing that they didnt have to pay royalty, on anything they ever did. But the ST DMA port was and is very very fast.
Incidentally, Atari did announce, prior to the STe launch that it would have a 256 colour mode. This was widely reported in magazines, and I am guessing that something like the TT Shifter chip would have done it. Certainly the TT Shifter chip would have been in development at that time. The video on the ST and TT is very simple.
Yes, the marketing of the STe and STfm was totally wrong. The STe was not what was promised, and no one seems to know why it did not have sufficient enhancements to set it apart from the STfm. I was surprised that towards the end of the ST lifetime the STfm was re-released. Sheer madness! ... Although good value. Not the smartest marketing.
Thats why I like Atari though. I am a product designer, and trained in consumer product design. But I have rarely come across a company with such an abysmal marketing strategy as Atari. They have always been like it. .... The machines, and technology created by the engineers, like the ST Book, STacy, Falcon etc etc were simply ahead of their time. I have a TT, and it runs rings around a IBM PC of the same period. But they were'nt exactly marketed well.
The Falcon advertising for example. Anyone remember "Everything that communicates, comunnicates". And the Jaguar adverts and marketing was awful too. But I like the old simple 68000 based girl. You know where you are. And maybe Commodore did not push the serious computing enough either. Ive never heard of anyone using an Amiga, apart from for games. So it was known as a games machine.
I think Atari did the right thing to update the OS. And they should have done this more and sooner. TOS 1.0 to 1.6 was a very very simple GUI. I liked it. But compared to the Mac for example, although it had merits and was usable, it certainly did not look as polished.
The development of TOS 2.06 could not come soon enough. And with a hard drive and TOS 2.06, the ST is a surprisingly powerful and useful machine for serious computing.
Atari only brought out multitasking MultiTOS very late in the day. And I doubt anyone actually bought it. As other companies had brought out other multitasking solutions already. But clearly they were thinking of exiting the computer market at that time. Thats why the Falcon was so cut down, and Im guessing they maybe just wanted to squeeze the last of the profits out, get rid of old stock, IC's and components. Although I do think that the Falcon 040 in the Microbox case would have seen a market, especially in the music industry, Europe and for specialist tasks.
What does strike me is the price and what you got for your money with the Atari. The MEGA ST that I picked up off a business client recently was used until the late 90's as a CAD machine. With a MegaFile hard drive, SM144 mono monitor, Neodesk and a large Pen Plotter it was used to create technical drawings. An equivalent Mac of PC at the time would have cost twice as much. And back in the day, we are probably talking the difference of paying £5000 or £2000 for the whole lot. And the guy that runs the company loves and misses the machine. He actually asked me if I could install the old Atari Campus CAD system on his Windows PC in an emulator, as he liked the software, and found it much more intuitive.
The TT that I have, had been used in a factory environment to run a CNC machine. Quite odd I thought, to see a factory powered by an Atari. Lol. ... But again, I am sure that the power and reliability for the price is maybe why this was probably in continuous service for many years.
Maybe there was a market for cut price, simple, and well designed machines. They are not going to win prizes for megaflops. But the simplicity was a very cheap, solid and reliable workhorse. I'd like to think that maybe there was and is a market for such machines, but I can understand why Commodore and Atari backed out, once the far east could just copy the generic IBM based x86.
Incidentally, the x86 actually was a bit of an accident in its creation at IBM. In fact IBM executives were more focused on other types of computer. The x86 that we know and hate today, was actually a project to build a computer using standard off the shelf parts. They did not realise it would be a success, or even bother to protect themselves. So this allowed the far east to copy the bloated beige monstrosity.
I remember the 1st time I saw and used a PC. It was at a work experience, in a drawing office (I have always done CAD). It was the 1st beige one. And I think it was switchable between 33Mhz and 40Mhz. With Lotus on it. ... God I remember when i looked at it, I felt like my eyes had glazed over, and it though its sheer blandness, had already sucked in part of my soul. ... I think that was in about 1995.
All the machines I used for CAD were usually specialised workstations. Like HP units, probably similar to SparxStation etc. They were ok. But I never used or bought a PC until about 1999 when I went to university. They didnt even have windows there (thankfully), all the PC's were UNIX based terminals. You could boot up a GUI on some, using X-windows to web browse etc using Netscape. But it was rubbish and slow. So I always used text mode, PINE for email, LYNX web browser. All in text lol.
So the "wonderful PC's" were not that great!! lol. ... I used to download the entire websites, put it onto an MS-DOS disk. Take it back to my Atari, and then browse the website with a computer that could actually display things properly without taking hours, and grinding to bloated halt. I did end up buying a PC in 2001 I think, as I needed to use 3D CAD software for that platform. But, I have been since then, fighting a constant battle to keep the computer running properly. So many faults in Wintel PC's.
Everything about them is shocking. I run Windows 7 now. Yet, yesterday I thought I would copy 2 files off a CD Rom. Not you probably know that in windows, if you are copying off a CD, and then try to copy another file at the same time, then windows slows down to a crawl, starts seeking the CD Rom furiously, and generally then you try to cancel it. Wait 10 mins. End the process. Explorer shell crashes. Control-Alt-Del, and brink up task manager. Go to FILE > new task (run), type "explorer". Press return. Wait for shell to boot again. Eject CD and reinsert, as its stopped responding. And then start again. ..... Now every version of Windows from 3.1 to 7.0 does this. Madness. All they have to do is to maybe write a routine, so that it copies files from CD "one by one" like a list, rather than try to do several off optical media and timeslice until it crashes out of pure frustration. The system is complete rubbish.
As far as I am concerned, I am interested in having the right software. And actually, I would prefer a nice simple stable OS with no background processes, etc, that I can then just concentrate on my work, and maximise my computing power to the task at hand. ... Bit of a rant. Lol. God I hate PC's!