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Clint Thompson

Atari Introduces the Falcon030 - Sept. 23rd, 1992

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Reading through some old articles, and I couldn't help but feel this is exactly what Apple would become with their Mac OSX. I remember reading about the genlock/video capabilities of the Falcon but never knew of anything that used it or examples. It always seemed like the Amiga took the show with their Video Toaster setups with boards from Newtek.

 

Sam mentions below using the Falcon as a video phone? I've not seen a single thing about video phone use for the Falcon. Do you guys remember the Tandy Sensation and software suites or packages that came installed with those to help make for an easier interface to navigate just exactly what it was you wanted to do on the computer? I think Packard Bell did something similar. Atari probably should have done something along those lines and seriously focused on the software to make all the lose ends work. It could have been the internet multimedia machine it was intended to be. I guess MiNT did come along to remedy some of that but I've only ever seen pictures.

 

It also seems like there was such a low number of units expected to be delivered. 2 per store? No direct ordering at the time? I would love to see photos from the Atarifests demoing these units, outside of the blurry magazine pics, some being black and white. I can only imagine how miserable a 1MB machine would've been and if that hindered the performance of the direct to disk audio recording - which still is rather amazing to me to this day. And was the PIM terminology or phrase supposed to catch-on?

 

I can only remember drooling over Toad Computer magazines with Falcons imprinted with the pages and remembering just how badly I wanted one. Needless to say, Atari pulled the plug on everything and the support dropped right behind that notion and it would become just a super rare bird with limited software. It's too bad Space Junk was never to be completed, I remember playing the demo many years ago and it was truly impressive. Wonder what else could've been done with the machine given the right developers and a solid chance.

 

"ATARI INTRODUCES FIRST COMPUTER SYSTEM DESIGNED FOR PERSONAL INTEGRATED
 MEDIA

 Atari Falcon030 brings high-end capabilities to the market for less
 than $1,000.
 
 Boston (September 23, 1992)  Atari Corporation today announced the first
 available personal integrated media system, the Atari Falcon030
 computer.  From education to entertainment, personal integrated media
 (PIM) has the potential to change consumers' lives as dramatically as
 personal computers changed business offices.  The system will be
 available in November at authorized Atari Dealers across the country.
 
 A full scale computer based on the powerful 16 Mhz Motorola 68030
 microprocessor, the Atari Falcon030 is specifically designed for
 personal integrated media functions.  It gives even inexperienced users
 the ability to combine and manipulate video, audio, animation,
 telecommunications, text and graphics.  The system is optimized for
 these functions and incorporates technology usually reserved for high-
 end production systems.
 
 "The Atari Falcon030 is an ideal entry into the new and growing personal
 integrated media market," said Sam Tramiel, Atari's president and CEO.
 "It's a powerful system that gives users access to a whole new world of
 applications.  Yet the system remains easy-to-use and affordable."
 
 Consumers will be able to use the Atari Falcon030 as a color video
 phone, communicating in sound and pictures with other Atari Falcon030
 users.  The system makes it possible to create home videos complete with
 text and music, record lead vocals on a favorite rock 'n roll classic
 with the originals musicians playing along; narrate and score a family
 photo album, produce a visual family tree, invent and play an adventure
 game set in a childhood home; and much more."

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Yeah, all I ever heard about the STe was that it was just too late and that the Falcon, although family oriented looking to match their line of computers, was just using the same dated design without true expandability like the TT. What I find interesting to read is that the Falcon was supposed to be just an entry-level multimedia machine and that the Falcon line to follow would be the higher-end versions, which would replace the TT theoretically. I think Atari saw the writing on the wall early on but didn't want to completely destroy faith in anything they were doing by basically shitting on the 25,000 people who just shelled out almost $1,000 on a new computer from them, only to let them know they were completely dropping the ball and over their head with the Jaguar in ability to support it all.

 

I still find the idea of using the video chipset from the Jaguar in a Falcon series to be completely fascinating. The idea of a Falcon040 with 32-64MB of ram, using the GPU chipset from the Jaguar and actually having an up-to-speed TOS (or MultiTOS rather) setup or even supporting UNIX as was mentioned, would have been phenomenal. They didn't really have any direction or use for the Falcon in the way of desktop publishing seeing as how the TT was still technically better at doing the job and yet they were still serving the musicians with their built-in capability and could have refocused this into what basically could have been the ultimate gaming computer of the time during the early 90s. Having all the extra storage space and RAM available would've proven to be incredible as well and I think only then would the Jaguar's GPU chipset be fully utilized to it's true potential.

 

Getting caught-up in such daydreams may be silly but I guess thinking that at some point Atari could have made this system as not only a full-on development kit for the Jaguar console part but the computer could also play the games AND play enhanced or higher-end games made specifically for it. You had the PC market side of things but even the most capable video graphics that could match that of the Jag's GPU would be costly, with the overall system cost most likely double-to-triple the cost of what you could've packaged a Falcon gaming computer together for.

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Back in the day I loved my AMIGA but I admit I was awaiting the Falcon because at least from my perspective it was looking to be everything I loved about my beloved Commodore machine but officially by ATARI. Thing turned out to be even more scarce for me here in Canada than AMIGA was. Don't think I ever even seen one in person to this day. So I never owned one, while I would still love to I don't think it offers me much since it's short life and library don't seem to do the price justice these days other than for collector purposes. Like the Jaguar though I admit I was dreaming before launch of the possibilities. 

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@LD - funny you should mention that since I've been talking with David on and off as of recent. It's a shame Sam didn't listen to his advice and while it was true, the hardware would have been fantastic for its time but being the hardware company that Atari was moreso than software it seemed, since the Tramiel takeover, they would have never developed or got the OS off to speed in proper time I feel.

 

@Max - I ponder the same thing recently as I've set out to acquire my last Falcon but getting into music stuff lately and the idea of having it to sift through things when I want it there to do such would be really nice. If you find a nice one, they're really beautiful machines. A'bit slow it seems but there was a way to speedup the redraw using software I believe which helped make it seem far zippier. If one thing has held consistent in prices it would definitely be the Falcon. Still hard to justify since for $500 you can have a nicely equipped PC but you know, it's still not a Falcon. Something about specialized hardware and the fact that its scarce makes it even that much more special.

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I can see how someone requesting to pick your brain about something maybe seen as not such a spectacular time some 20 years ago could be bothersome and a waste of their time. Some definitely don't enjoy reliving it, which again, is completely understandable. It's hard to not be bitter about putting in so much effort into any project only for it to be completely labeled as either a failure or such poor results that it affects you and your life all-around negatively.

 

I guess it has to be a true calling of passion though and that even if whatever you're doing doesn't fare well or as expected, as long as you still enjoyed what you were doing in the end, that's what really matters most.

 

Speaking of Falcon... I've got some goodies in the mail =) I'll have to post a picture later.

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Atari just sent me a ton of brochures to help me better decide which computer I should get - 1040STe, Falcon030 or Mega STe. Which one should I get? They also think I may be interested in the Jaguar and Lynx as well ;-)

 

post-181-0-45502600-1463130473_thumb.jpg

post-181-0-54270900-1463130564_thumb.jpg

 

When I saw the stickers, it made me think of the Atari logo on the back of the Hotz Box.

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