The Atari XE Game System started out as just that, a game system.
Once Atari released an add-on keyboard for it though, the keyboard turned it
into a full-fledged Atari 8bit computer, that had the same ports and
capabilities as the rest of the 8bit line, including being able to use the
same disk drives and such. The graphics are slightly improved over earlier
versions, and since this is the only one of the Atari 8bit line to have a
detachable keyboard, the normal function keys, such as RESET and SELECT, are
located on the system unit itself, vice the keyboard. The XE has a single
exposed cartridge slot on top, two joystick ports and a single general
purpose I/O port. The cartridge slot was enhanced and intended as a
replacement for the PBI used in the XL series. The case is grey, more in the
style of the ST line of computers, with pastel colored function keys that are
round and oversized. The XEGS was released in November 1987.
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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