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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
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Atari 1850XLD

Developer: Atari
Developed: 1983

The name Atari brings forth a number of mixed emotions for people. Many former and current Amiga owners remember the brief battle fought between Commodore and Atari for domination of the 16-bit computer market. A battle that Commodore eventually won. Now imagine that your Amiga suddenly develops an Atari logo on the casing and a bizarre green desktop. This may have come to pass if Atari had bought the Amiga. On November 21, 1983 Atari and Amiga signed an agreement that allowed Atari complete access to the Amiga "Lorraine"" prototype that was currently being developed. In exchange Atari would give an undisclosed sum of money to assist development.

"Mickey"

As part of the agreement Atari would gain access to the Amiga chipset and design its own version of the Amiga computer codenamed "Mickey", after the Disney mouse, "Minnie" was the name given to a 256K memory card. As part of the agreement, Atari would sell "Mickey" as a game console without the keyboard for 1 year. After that, Atari could then sell a keyboard add-on and sell a full computer "Mickey" system to the public. One ex-Atari Corp. also discovered proposals for a Unix-style GUI kernel for the "Mickey" project. How much of this was the original AmigaOS system is unknown but it is likely that it contained information on the Amiga EXEC and Intuition, with some kind of custom "AtariDOS" additions.

Until recently it has been assumed that Atari did not have time to develop a system before Commodore bought Amiga, Inc. During 1984 rumours were abound on a new computer known as the Atari 1600XL. Remarkably, the system coincides in many ways with some of the features highlighted by Dave Haynie and Jay Minor in many interviews. These include a built-in disk drive, Apple ][e compatibility and the possibility of an Intel 8088 daughter processor for IBM compatibility. As Amiga historians know, the Lorraine featured a cartridge slot for a number of expansion boards including an IBM PC-on-a-card. These puzzles have recently been solved with the recovery of a number of logbooks by the Atari Historical Society that suggest Atari were developing a system derived from the original Lorraine prototype that would come to be known as the Atari 1850XLD

 

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