|★ PEOPLES ★ AMSTRAD'S Z88 BASHER EXPOSED ★|
|Amstrad will launch a Z88 style laptop (New Computer Express)|
Amstrad will launch a Z88 style laptop next year for £199, Express can reveal.
The as yet un-named machine, unofficially dubbed the Mobile Computer Wordproces-sor, will be an A4 sized portable aimed at the low-cost professional end of the market. It is being described as a “Z88 basher” and a “PCW on your knee”. Hanover CeBit show next June will act as the launchpad with full UK availability by the late summer.
Artists impression: no technical wizardry, but an attractive price-point.
A price-point of £199 has been provisionally agreed upon by Amstrad chiefs although, as always with the Brentwood company, the final pricing decision is being left until the last possible moment.
The MCW will be pitched against Cambridge Computer's two-year old Z88 and Tandy's new T102 laptop. Both are enjoying success in the High Street, with retail tags of £264 and £287 respectively.
An Amstrad insider told Express that no disk drive will be included, but the simplicity of transferring text to desktop PCs will be stressed in advertising campaigns. Amstrad is understood to be developing link facilities to enable transfer between the MCW and both its PC and PCW range.
Software on ROM will include a word processor, organiser software and possibly a cut-down spreadsheet. But it will definitely be a machine for word-smiths on the move, rather than a complete portable solution.
It will come with a full typewriter style keyboard and will weigh about two pounds. An RS232 interface and printer port will be included.
Details of the screen are hazy at best but it is thought that the Amstrad machine will not be dissimilar to the Tandy T102 which offers an LCD with contrast control boasting eight lines by 80 characters. Like the Tandy it will run on four AA batteries, power consumption being low as it has no disk drive.
At the heart of the machine will be a Z80 processor running at about 5MHz.
Not surprisingly Amstrad is entirely denying the existence of any such machine. A spokesman told Express: “I know nothing about this. Amstrad is moving away from the low cost end of the market. We don't think there's enough money in it.”
He added: “The only low-cost machines are in the leisure area where we are firmly established as a brand name.”
Nevertheless, usually impeccable sources insist that the go-ahead has been given at the highest possible level.
New Computer Express #101 (10/1989)