Amiga Says New Hardware On The Way

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In the mainstream computing world, Macintosh users are generally considered to be slightly insane, what with their cult-like devotion to the brand, appreciation of elegant designs, and a willingness to buy into a vertically-integrated platform. But, folks, Mac users have got nothing on fans of the Amiga, and they just got something to crow about: Amiga has announced two new PowerPC-based systems are on the way for Amiga users.

Amigas were popular niche computers in the during the late 1980s and early 1990s—once counting for nearly 5 million users—and quickly garnered a following in the multimedia, gaming, and production communities thanks to their custom graphics hardware, dedicated sound chips, and the preemptive multitasking offered by the Amiga OS. (In fact, Amigas were at the heart of some early render farms used to produce 3D graphics for movies, games, and television). But the business side of the Amiga platform was always chancy: parent company Commodore announced a bankruptcy in 1994, with the current owners—Amiga Inc.—getting rights to the line in 1999. Although the Amiga community has held on (particularly in Europe), only one new Amiga product has actually made it to market in recent years, Eyetech‘s AmigaOne motherboard, officially sanctioned for AmigaOS 4.

Now, Amiga Inc. is promising two new PowerPC-based Amiga systems will be announced within a week, one being an entry-level design with a target price around $500, while they other will target enthusiasts, pros, and developers with a price tag around $1,500. Amiga has partnered with ACK Software Controls to design the new systems

"I have been working on these designs with Amiga for almost 12 months and have been able to create two new designs that will fully support the needs and desires of today’s Amiga user, while opening the doors for new users," said ACK president Adam Kowalczyk. Although ACK is a new company, Kowalczyk has announced Amiga products before, including an accelerator for older Amiga 1200 models which never shipped. Amiga fans will be skeptical until hardware designs are unveiled and units actually begin to appear in users’ hands, but for now, the mood is one of guarded optimism.

Until this announcement, Amiga Inc. was generally believed to be focusing on the mobile arena, owing to the Amiga OS’s strong feature set and very small footprint.