Feeds

Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

6502 and all that

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Jupiter Ace

Reg Hardware retro numbers

With the designer of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum's electronics and the writer of Sinclair Basic behind it, you'd have thought the Jupiter Ace couldn't fail to succeed.

Jupiter Ace

But Ricard Altwasser - the hardware guy - and software wizard Steve Vickers made two mistakes. In place of the then increasingly well known Basic programming language, they implemented "revolutionary microcomputer language" Forth. That appealed to an emerging group of programming nerds, but for the bigger gang of schoolkids keen to hack micros, it wasn't a language they spoke.

And while the 3.25MHz Z80A, 1KB Ram-based Ace was a cheap £89.95, it was a black-and-white machine at a time when all its key rivals were colour, even the Spectrum, which the two had just completed.

Launched in the autumn of 1982, the Ace was followed in 1983 by the Ace 4000, which featured a slightly redesigned case and motherboard. The Ace 16+ - a regular Ace plus a 16KB Ram pack - was announced in the summer of 1983, but it wasn't enough to stop the company collapsing the following November.

Jupiter Ace advert

Click for full-size image

Release Date September 1982
Price £90
CPU Z80A @ 3.5MHz
Memory 3KB
Developers Richard Altwasser and Steve Vickers

Oric-1

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Developed by Tangerine Computer Systems offshot Oric Products International, the Oric was intended to compete head-to-head with the Sinclair Spectrum by offering a BBC Micro-level Basic and audio experience in the familiar compact, "pregnant calculator" form-factor.

Oric-1. Source: Retro Bytes Portal

Source: The Retro Bytes Portal

Inside sat a 1MHz 6502A CPU and 16KB or 64KB of Ram, though the latter reserved 16KB to hold a copy of the Basic interpreter, so it was marketed as a 48KB machine - a rare instance in the IT biz of being totally honest with the specifications.

It was a good machine, but it didn't pull in the punters. It's estimated that some 160,000 sold in the UK, and 50,000 in France. When the Oric 1 production facility burned down in October 1983, it seemed like the end had come.

But Oric struggled on, now with a new owner, Edenspring, releasing a follow-up machine, the Atmos, in 1984. In February 1985, Edespring pulled the plug. Oric was then acquired by French firm Eureka, keen to maintain the machine's Gallic fanbase. It released the Stratos that year and the Telestrat the next, only to shut up shop in 1987.

Oric-1 advert Oric-1 advert

Click for full-size images

Release Date January 1983
Price £129 (16KB) £169 (48KB)
CPU 6502A @ 1MHz
Memory 16KB or 64KB (48KB usable)
Developers Paul Johnson

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Sinclair ZX81

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.