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|6502/Z80||64k (128k avail)||after market hd||Tape (floppy avail)||16 color||Telivision/Composite|
In its' day this was a wonderful computer, unfortunately,
it's day did not last long, and it was soon abandoned by it's company (Coleco).
There is a rather strong, almost cult like following for this computer,
similar to that for the old Apple II. What this computer had going for
it, back in those pre PC days, was a dual processor architecture, employing
the two most popular CPU's of the day, the Z80, and the 6502. These processors
ran CP/M (for business), and Apple 2 systems (for recreation/home use)
respectively. It was also capable of handling 128K of ram, and came standard
with 64K, at a time when most other computers could handle no more than
64K, and came with 16K-48K. At that time most people did not see the need
to have a computer in their homes, but many enjoyed video games, so this
machine also ran game cartridges from the popular ColecoVisioin system.
The failure of this machine is difficult to understand judged on it's capabilities.
It may be that it was too expensive compared to other game machines, and
it's gamer heritage prevented it from being taken seriously as a computer.
Whatever the reason for it's failings, for about two years, this was the
best home computer you could buy. At a time when hard drives were out of
the question, and floppies were for those who considered money to be no
object, Coleco equipped their computer with a high speed tape drive which
used a media somewhat like a standard cassette tape. The tape drive was
a real marvel, being like a baby version of the multi track tape drives
on main frame computers. The computer had sound and decent video for it's
day. I have the CP/M operating system and Logo, along with basic.
Technologically, this machine was as good or better than any being then offered for the home market. The Adam was ahead of it's time, so much so, that the market it hoped to cultivate is still at least a decade away. This is the elusive market of the casual home computer user, and is just starting to show signs of life today. Web T.V. is catering to this market, with limited success, though without the pretense of being a real computer. It is being predicted that within the first decade of this new millennium, the computer will be the center piece of a consumer entertainment, and work center; this is the market that the Adam tried to initiate. As a computer nut, even 20 years ago, I had to have one of these machines, and the failure to create a market may be explained by many of the comments I received when I told my friends about my having a home computer. "What can you do on it?" was the most common question asked. Many were interested in the game playing capability, but saw no reason to spend the extra money when game machines were cheap and plentiful (why not just get a game machine?). The practicality of a word processor eluded most people back then (why not just use a typewriter?). There were other programs of course, but for every use I could come up with, my friends could come up with a way to do the same thing which did not require a computer.
This computer was a product of the early eighties, and it's failure to capture an, as yet, non existent market was not repeated by the soon to be released IBM PC. The ironic twist of this whole thing is that the PC, which was launched as a business machine with no pretense of catering to the casual user, has sparked the home market which Adam sought to capture. This was the first good computer I ever owned (my first actual computer was a Commodore Vic-20), where I could actually write programs and save them. Yet another indicator of the way this machine was mismarketed may be seen by the fact that I bought it, along with some upgrades at the local Toys'R'Us store.
A much better source of information (at least until I can give this page the attention it deserves) is the Adam web page listed in my links. I also hope to get a picture of my own Adam up here soon. The one I am using was taken from the obsolete computer museum, and differs from mine in that it is the stand alone Adam computer. My model happens to be the expansion pack, mated to a ColecoVision game system.