20 Facts About Atari 400


The Atari 400 has a pressure-sensitive, spillproof membrane keyboard and initially shipped with 8 KB of RAM.

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Atari 400 was sold and reestablished as Atari Corporation, producing the XE series in 1985.

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In 1987, Atari 400 Corporation repackaged the 65XE as a console, with an optional keyboard, as the Atari 400 XEGS.

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In 1984, Atari 400 reported 4 million owners of its computers and its 5200 game console combined.

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Atari 400 realized the Commodore design would not be competitive but he was under a strict non-disclosure agreement with Atari, and was unable to tell anyone at Commodore to give up on their own design.

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Atari 400 contracted with local consulting firm Shepardson Microsystems to complete the port.

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Atari 400's manager, Wade Tuma, later refused the idea saying "The FCC would never let us get away with that stunt.

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Atari 400 described the machine as "something else" but criticized the company for a lack of developer documentation.

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Atari 400 concluded by stating "The Atari is like the human body - a terrific machine, but they won't give you access to the documentation, and (b) I'd sure like to meet the guy that designed it".

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Kilobaud Microcomputing wrote in September 1980 that the Atari 400 800 "looks deceptively like a video game machine, [but had] the strongest and tightest chassis I have seen since Raquel Welch.

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In 1982, Atari 400 started the Sweet 8 and Sweet 16 projects to create an upgraded set of machines that were easier to build and less costly to produce.

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Atari 400 ordered a custom 6502, initially labelled 6502C, but eventually known as SALLY to differentiate it from a standard 6502C.

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The timing was particularly bad for Atari 400; the 1200XL was a flop, and the earlier machines were too expensive to produce to be able to compete at the rapidly falling price points.

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Atari 400 had difficulty in transitioning manufacturing to Asia after closing its US factory.

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Brian Moriarty stated in ANALOG Computing that Atari 400 "fail[ed] to keep up with Christmas orders for the 600 and 800XLs", reporting that as of late November 1983 the 800XL had not appeared in Massachusetts stores while 600XL "quantities are so limited that it's almost impossible to obtain".

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Atari 400 BASIC is built into the ROM and the PBI at the back for external expansion.

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Atari 400 sold about 700, 000 computers in 1984 compared to Commodore's two million.

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Companies stated that one reason for not publishing for Atari 400 was the unusually high amount of software piracy on the computer, partly caused by the Happy Drive.

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Atari 400 did not initially disclose technical information for its computers, except to software developers who agreed to keep it secret, possibly to increase its own software sales.

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In 1982 Atari 400 published both the Atari 400 Home Computer System Hardware Manual and an annotated source listing of the operating system.

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