The 1200XL was Atari's first redesign of the 400/800 8bit computers.
It was housed in a much sleeker, low-profile case and included 4 programmable
function keys and a help key in addition to the standard Atari 8bit keyboard.
It shipped with 64k of RAM, had a SIO port and RF interface along the rear
panel, and had it's cartridge port and two 9 pin joystick ports in the left
side panel. It also shipped with a new OS, called XL OS. Unfortunately, the
new OS proved incompatible with quite a few cartridges and programs,
Including some of those made by Atari. Included in the new ROMS though were
a graphics demo and built-in diagnostics. It also had 4 channel sound and it
has been said that it's keyboard is the best of any of the Atari 8bit
machines. Hardware hackers also liked the machine due to the large amount of
space available inside it's case. The 1200XL was released in 1982 and the
compatibility problems with it's ROMs were fixed in later XL-series machines,
though some users upgraded the machine with newer ROM's to have the best of
both worlds. This upgrade is outlined in 'Adding a Parallel Bus Interface To
The 1200XL' by Bob Woolley.
Atari dropped all remaining support for the 8-bit computer line on January 1,
1992. Atari was bought out by disk drive manufacturer JTS Corp. on July 30,
1996, and production of it's computers stopped. The Falcon was sold to C-Labs
of Germany who enhanced it and continued it's production. On February 23,
1998 JTS sold it's Atari division to Hasbro Inc. for $5 million, forming
Atari Interactive Inc. Atari Games, the coin-op division which remained
seperate from Atari Corp. and was later known as Time-Warner Interactive,
became a subsidiary of Midway Games Inc.
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