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The Amiga range of computers made its debut with the A1000 back in the mid-eighties, and since then has built up an extremely loyal user base. Four years have passed since Commodore, the Amiga's original parent company, filed for voluntary liquidation, and yet the community is still alive and kicking. More recently, the Amiga is being given a new lease of life by new owners Gateway 2000, the PC giant, and new models can be expected in 1999.
Meanwhile here is a brief summary of the Amiga's details, technical and historic:
|Intellectual property holders||1985 to 1994: Commodore Inc., later named Commodore-Amiga Inc.
1995 to 1996: Amiga Technologies GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of the now defunct Escom GmbH
1997 to ? : Amiga Inc./Amiga International Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of Gateway 2000 Inc.
|Manufacturers||Until recently manufactured in-house, future models will be built under OEM licences. Currently there are about a dozen OEM licencees of the existing Amiga technology.|
|First release||Amiga 1000, 1985|
|Latest release||Computer: Amiga 1200, 1992
Games Console: Amiga CD32, 1994
|Price range||£300 to £2000
US$500 to $3000
|Processors||All existing models run on Motorola 680x0 series processors, with official
models having been sold with 68000 to 68060 processors. Future models will
contain both Motorola Power-PC and 680x0 processors.
The Amiga also includes a series of custom co-processors for handling graphics, sound, etc.
|Niche markets||The Amiga has found a number of niche markets over the years, most notably in special effects production for television and cinema (examples: Jurassic Park, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Titanic, Babylon Five...) and multimedia displays (examples: point of informations booths in the Museum of the Moving Image, London, and the London Transport Museum, London.) Oddly, the Amiga is also used in the M1 Abrams tank (don't ask why!) and has been used by NASA for co-ordinating rocket launches.|
|Operating System||The Amiga runs its own ROM based operating system, AmigaDOS, features of which include full pre-emptive multitasking, high levels of resource efficiency, multiple virtual screens limited only by available graphics RAM, full drag and drop graphical operating environment ("Workbench")...|
|Number of users||Nobody knows... estimates range from 10,000,000 to 100,000,000. The size of the market has certainly reduced massively over the past four years due to the lack of development. Amiga users are often very loyal to the platform, and there is a community spirit unseen elsewhere in the computing world; is could well be this that has enabled the Amiga to survive for the last four years.|
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