Applied Computer Techniques (ACT) Ltd. (Birmingham, U.K.)

ACT was a leading European computer manufacturer that started in 1965 with a computer time-share service. It sold the Victor 9000 in Europe as the ACT Sirius starting in 1982, but did not build its own computer until the Apricot, which it sold through its U.S. subsidiary, ACT North America. Later, the U.S. arm would become simply Apricot Inc.

The original Apricot, touted as “the first 4th generation personal computer, had an odd configuration. Is it a portable or a desktop PC? The Apricot folds up and can be carried by a handle, and you could use the system without a CRT by relying on the two-line LCD on the keyboard. Practically speaking, the Apricot is more of a desktop unit. The Apricot Xi, a hard-disk drive version of the Apricot, followed a year later. Neither system was fully IBM PC compatible.

ACT launched a true Apricot Portable the following year. This Apricot came standard with three operating systems, including MS-DOS and CP/M. It therefore had a huge software base.

In 1984, the Apricot F1 appeared. Although still not entirely IBM PC compatible the F1, but it had some interesting features, including an infrared keyboard and mouse, and a graphical user interface called Activity.

In early 1986, ACT introduced its first true IBM PC compatible, the Apricot XEN. Originally based on the 80286 CPU, later versions used the 80386SX.

The Apricot Portable provided near desktop performance in a small package for the time. An unusual feature was the built-in voice recognition capability with a 4,000-word vocabulary. The intent was to ease data entry, but you had to create your own applications to take advantage of the feature. ACT bundled diary and drawing programs that used speech recognition.

Apricot launched the Qi 300 and Qi 600 series in 1988. They were based on IBM’s PS/2 architecture. The Qi came network-ready with support for Novell Netware, OS/2 LAN Manager, and Apricot’s own VX-Net. The Qi 300 and Qi 600 series were identical in appearance.

ACT Apricot

ACT Apricot

ACT Apricot in portable mode

ACT Apricot in portable mode

ACT Apricot (Nov. 1983, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,495 to $3,190
Base Configuration: 5MHz 8086 CPU; MS-DOS 2.0, CP/M-86, and Concurrent CP/M-86; two proprietary slots; 256K RAM (768K max); two 3.5-inch floppy disk drives; keyboard/keypad; RS-232 and parallel ports; application suite; BASIC
Video: 24-line x 80-column text, 800 x 400 graphics
Size/Weight: 16.5 x 4 x 12.5 inches, 17.5 lbs.
Important Options: UCSC p-System, 5MB or 10MB hard disk drive, 9-inch monochrome monitor, mouse, modem

ACT Apricot Xi (1984, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $4,495
Base Configuration: 8086 CPU, MS-DOS, 256K RAM (768K max), 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 5MB hard disk drive, keyboard/keypad, application suite
Video: 18.6 lbs.
Important Options: CP/M-86 or Concurrent CP/M-86, 10- or 20MB hard disk drive, 9- or 12-inch monochrome or 13-inch color monitor, internal modem

ACT Apricot F1 (July 1984, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $1,595 to $2,995
Base Configuration: 8086 CPU, MS-DOS, expansion slot, 256K RAM (768K max), 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, infrared keyboard/keypad, RS-232 and parallel ports, application suite
Size/Weight: 7 x 4 x 18 inches, 13 lbs.
Important Options: Concurrent DOS, expansion box, 10-inch color monitor, infrared mouse/trackball, carrying case

ACT Apricot XEN (1985, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 7.5MHz 80286 CPU, 512K RAM, 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and parallel ports, keyboard, MS-DOS 3.2
Video: 640 x 350 pixels
Size/Weight: 14.7w x 14.7d x 3.9h inches
Important Options: external 5.25-inch floppy drive, 20MB hard drive, trackball

Apricot XEN-S PC Series

Apricot XEN-S PC Series

Apricot XEN-S PC 286 (~1986, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 12.5MHz 80286 CPU, 1MB RAM (5MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 30MB hard drive, serial and parallel ports, 3 AT slots, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels
Size/Weight: 4.1h x 15d x 14.6w inches, 14.3 lbs.
Important Options: 80386SX upgrade, 14-inch monochrome or color monitor, mouse, Windows 286 Presentation Manager

Apricot XEN-S PC 386 (~1986, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386SX CPU, 1MB RAM (5MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 30MB hard drive, serial and parallel ports, 3 AT slots, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels
Size/Weight: 4.1h x 15d x 14.6w inches, 14.3 lbs.
Important Options: 80387SX FPU, 14-inch monochrome or color monitor, mouse, Windows 286 Presentation Manager

Apricot XEN-S Series

Apricot XEN-S Series

Apricot XEN-S 200 (~1986, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386SX CPU, 1MB RAM (5MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and parallel ports, 3 AT slots, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels
Size/Weight: 4.1h x 15d x 14.6w inches, 14.3 lbs.
Important Options: 80387SX FPU, 14-inch monochrome or color monitor, mouse, Windows 286 Presentation Manager

Apricot XEN-S 250 (~1986, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386SX CPU, 1MB RAM (5MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 47MB hard drive, serial and parallel ports, 3 AT slots, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels
Size/Weight: 4.1h x 15d x 14.6w inches, 14.3 lbs.
Important Options: 80387SX FPU, 14-inch monochrome or color monitor, mouse, Windows 286 Presentation Manager

Apricot XEN-S 240x (~1986, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386SX CPU, 1MB RAM (5MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 44MB cartridge drive, SCSI controller, serial and parallel ports, 3 AT slots, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels
Size/Weight: 4.1h x 15d x 14.6w inches, 14.3 lbs.
Important Options: 80387SX FPU, 14-inch monochrome or color monitor, mouse, Windows 286 Presentation Manager

Apricot Qi 310 (1988, desktop PC)
Base Configuration:
16MHz 80386SX CPU, 1MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 14-inch monochrome monitor, serial and parallel ports, 4 Micro Channel slots, Ethernet interface, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels, 16 colors
Size/Weight: 5.2h x 16.9d x 15.2w inches, 16.5 lbs.
Important Options: 16MHz 80387SX FPU, 14-inch color monitor, mouse, Microsoft Windows 386 Presentation Manager

Apricot Qi 330 (1988, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386SX CPU, 1MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 47MB hard drive, 14-inch monochrome monitor, serial and parallel ports, 4 Micro Channel slots, Ethernet interface, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels, 16 colors
Size/Weight: 5.2h x 16.9d x 15.2w inches, 16.5 lbs.
Important Options: 16MHz 80387SX FPU, 14-inch color monitor, mouse, Microsoft Windows 386 Presentation Manager

Apricot Qi 300 Series

Apricot Qi 300 Series

Apricot Qi 350 (1988, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386SX CPU, 2MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 47MB hard drive,  14-inch monochrome monitor, serial and parallel ports, 4 Micro Channel slots, Ethernet interface, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels, 16 colors
Size/Weight: 5.2h x 16.9d x 15.2w inches, 16.5 lbs.
Important Options: 16MHz 80387SX FPU, 40MB tape drive, 14-inch color monitor, mouse, Microsoft Windows 386 Presentation Manager

Apricot Qi 650 (1988, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 20MHz 80386 CPU, 1MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 14-inch monochrome monitor, serial and parallel ports, 4 Micro Channel slots, Ethernet interface, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels, 16 colors
Size/Weight: 5.2h x 16.9d x 15.2w inches, 16.5 lbs.
Important Options: 20MHz 80387 FPU, 14-inch color monitor, mouse, Microsoft Windows 386 Presentation Manager

Apricot Qi 660 (1988, desktop PC)
Base Configuration: 25MHz 80386 CPU, 1MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, 118MB hard drive, 14-inch monochrome monitor, serial and parallel ports, 4 Micro Channel slots, Ethernet interface, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: VGA, 640 x 480 pixels, 16 colors
Size/Weight: 5.2h x 16.9d x 15.2w inches, 16.5 lbs.
Important Options: 20MHz 80387 FPU, 40MB tape drive, 14-inch color monitor, mouse, Microsoft Windows 386 Presentation Manager

Apricot Sigmex AS 8412

Apricot Sigmex AS 8412

Apricot Sigmex AS 8412 (~1988, graphic workstation)
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386 CPU, 2MB RAM (8MB max), 5.25-inch floppy drive, 47MB hard drive, 17-inch color monitor, keyboard, mouse, 10 PC AT expansion slots, Xenix
Video: graphics subsystem with 25MHz 68020 CPU, 1280 x 1024 pixels, 256 colors
Size/Weight: 7.3w x 31.9d x 35.8h inches
Important Options: 16MHz 80387 FPU; 104MB, 147MB, or 247MB hard drive; 125MB SCSI tape backup, 20-inch color monitor

Apricot VX1000M with DSUs

Apricot VX1000M with DSUs

Apricot VX1000M (~1987, multiuser system)
Base Configuration: 25MHz 80386 CPU; 4MB RAM (16MB max); disk subsystem unit with 3.5-inch floppy drive, 125MB tape drive, and 147MB, 247MB, or 647MB hard drive; 14-inch monochrome or color monitor; 4 Micro Channel slots; Ethernet interface; 102-key keyboard
Video: VGA

ACT Apricot Portable (Oct. 1984, transportable PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,695 to $5,395
Base Configuration: 8086 CPU, MS-DOS, 256K RAM (1MB max), 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, monochrome LCD, infrared keyboard/keypad and mouse, RS-232C and parallel ports, application suite, voice recognition
Video: 25-line x 80-column text, 640 x 256 graphics
Size/Weight: 18 x 8 x 6 inches, 13 lbs.
Important Options: 10MB hard disk drive, 10-inch color monitor, carrying case

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