Saturday, April 28, 2007

Back to the future

For those of you who really know me, know I was very into the Amiga and BBS's (bulletin boards - its what existed before the web) and may well be aware of the circles I operated in from my own group - The Lost Boys to Traders Dreams, Red Nex and Ultima (as well as several others). Basically back in the day, I would hack and slash software and hardware to bits.

Well the Amiga was a popular computer in the mid 80s and early 90s that could perform feats that seemed to come from computers ten years in the future, thanks to its custom graphics and sound chips and lightning fast pre-emptive multitasking operating system.
However, managerial incompetence at Commodore led the company to declare bankruptcy in 1994.

Amiga Inc., the company that purchased the rights to the Amiga line of computers back in 1999, has risen from its perpetual slumber to announce a new line of PowerPC-based computers that will run Amiga, the first machine will be a "consumer-level" system that will run at around $500, to be followed up with a more powerful system for $1,500.

Exactly what Amiga Inc. hopes to achieve in the future remains somewhat of a mystery, but it may revolve around the mobile market. OS 4 runs very quickly even on very low resources, and as such may find a niche on handhelds. The desktop version has so far been an attraction only for the most die-hard enthusiasts, but if a $500 system can be released it might pick up a few more of the once five million-strong classic Amiga user base, as well as curious onlookers—just as the Mac mini appealed to enthusiast "adders" looking for an inexpensive way to experiment with alternative platforms.

I for one will watch with anticipation as to where the Amiga is heading and what it's capable of achieving this time around.


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