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What happened at St. Louis?

This is the question that popped into my mind when I started to read the various reports from people who had attended the Amiga 2K show. Amiga Incorporated made announcements, but everyone had a different interpretation as to what had been announced and the significance of them. As someone, who didn't have the opportunity to travel to St. Louis, it has been a nightmare trying to piece together what happened, to decide which sources are correct and assess the importance of what had been said, especially those reports, which directly contradicted what others had said.

The first major announcement of the show was the specifications of the Developer machine, an AMD 500 Mhz K6-2 with 64MB of RAM and has a GeForce 256. Fleecy Moss, a VP of Amiga Incorporated said, it “runs the Tao system very well” and will be “cheap”, although no pricing details are available. Fleecy Moss believes firmly that the inclusion of a GeForce 256 will be benefit to games developers, suggesting it “is a gamers delight”. The Developer machine should be available in the summer.

Partnerships were announced with a number of companies including SUN, Red Hat, and Corel. The significance of these announcements has been either played down or exaggerated. Some people believe that these strategic partners show that the major names are involved with the Amiga in a big way, whereas Corinna Cohn, an attendee at the show believed, that “the slides he (Bill McEwen) showed which quoted both Bob Young and Michael Cowpland seemed to indicate only that the companies were happy to hear that Amiga wanted to work with them”. It seems possible to conclude that these strategic partnerships have been overrated and time will only tell whether these names are playing an active role.

Also announced on the software front was that 117 current titles are in the process of being ported to the new Amiga system. It is believed that games companies such as Epic Marketing, Hyperion Software, Digital Images, and Titan Computers are involved. There is also going to be a new version of Scala for the new Amiga.

There has been some interesting news regarding the new Amiga system; shown at the Amiga 2K show were designs of what the new Amiga could look like. Three Disney Animators, who are fans of the Amiga, created them for no charge. Patrick Roberts one of the three Disney animators involved revealed why they produced these designs, “The three of us provided the artwork because we are devoted Amiga users and fans, and did so offering to help out in what ever way we could (plus Bill McEwen is cool). We made the offer to help bring Hollywood production quality to any additional content that Bill and Amiga would like us to create (and the offer still stands). If everyone does what they can, we'll have a great platform again”. There has been a mixed reaction, with Corinna Cohn calling them “either ugly, impractical, impossible, or all three”, whereas Mark Abraham said they “were cool concept designs” and “and had a very futuristic looking design”. It will be good to see them when Amiga Incorporated makes them available for viewing. This type of dedication by people like Patrick Roberts highlights the effort by Amiga users to push Amiga Incorporated forward, and it does seem as if Bill McEwen, President of Amiga Incorporated is responding positively to user input.

I have also learned that Amiga Incorporated does not intend to produce the new Amiga. Corinna Cohn mentions this first in her discussion with Bill McEwen at the show, noting that the impression Amiga Incorporated was giving at the show was sending the wrong signals to users. In a discussion about this issue I learned that according to Fleecy Moss, “Amiga is creating a software system and hardware reference designs. Hardware companies will create hardware from these designs, or their own hardware. Third parties will then sell the complete solution. We keep saying it, and saying it, and saying it...”. However, as far as I am aware this is the first time that Amiga Incorporated has suggested that they are only providing the reference designs. What the implications are, is unknown, but Bill McEwen is expected to outline their position soon.

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