Long-time BYTE magazine columnist Jerry Pournelle was fond of saying that AT&T couldn’t market eternal life. The company had some of the world’s top engineering talent and produced several excellent computers, but AT&T found it difficult to find success in the microcomputer market.
The Unix PC and Olivetti-manufactured PC 6300 were well-regarded when new and are interesting finds in good, unaltered condition. The AT&T Unix PC could be used as a standalone workstation or as a multi-user system. Its keyboard attached to the main CPU unit, covering the floppy drive. It could be used in that position or detached.
AT&T was known for its utilitarian, industrial computer designs. The Safari NSX/20 broke with that tradition. It was one of the sharpest looking notebooks at the time with a slim, well-chiseled form that sported a distinctive grey and green color scheme. The Safari was designed with communications in mind; it was optimized for AT&T Mail and AT&T EasyLink Services, which provided access to online news and databases (this was before the Web). While the Safari design team overcame the traditional AT&T stodginess, it couldn’t overcome AT&T’s awful marketing of the product. The Safari was available only a short time and did not sell well, but today it makes an excellent collectible.
AT&T PC 6300 (1984, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,811 to $4,985
Base Configuration: 8MHz 8086 CPU; MS-DOS 2.11, PC-DOS 2.0, or PC-DOS 2.1; seven ISA slots; 128K RAM (512K max); two 5.25-inch floppy disk drives; keyboard/keypad; serial and parallel ports
Video: 640 x 400 graphics
Important Options: Xenix 3.0, 20MB hard disk drive, mouse
AT&T Unix PC (1985, desktop)
Original Retail Price: $5,095 to $6,590
Base Configuration: 10MHz 68010 CPU, Unix System V, three slots, 512K RAM (2MB max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 10MB hard disk drive, 12-inch monochrome monitor, keyboard/keypad, mouse, parallel and RS-232C ports, development tools, utilities disk, internal modem
Video: 29-line x 80-column text, 720 x 348 graphics
Important Options: 20MB hard disk drive
AT&T Safari NSX/20 (1991, notebook PC)
Base Configuration: 20MHz 80386SX CPU, MS-DOS 4.01 with Windows 3.0a Productivity Pack, external AT bus, 2MB RAM (8MB max), 128K ROM, 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 40- or 80MB hard disk drive, 10-inch monochrome LCD, integral keyboard, mouse, two RS-232C and one parallel port, Access Plus software, internal modem, carrying case, tutorial software, NiCad battery, AC adapter
Video: VGA, EGA, CGA, and MDA
Size/Weight: 12 x 9.5 x 1.8 inches, 6.5 lbs., grey and green
Important Options: keypad
AT&T Globalyst 200 (June 1994, notebook PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,450
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80486SX CPU, 4MB RAM (20MB max), 170MB hard drive, 3.5-inch floppy drive, 9.5-inch color display, parallel and serial ports, integrated trackball, 2 PCMCIA slots, MS-DOS 6.21, Windows 3.11, NiMH battery, slipcase
Video: VGA and Super VGA
Size and Weight: 6.3 lbs.
Important Options: 50MHz DX2 CPU, DX4 CPU, 14000/14400 AT&T Paradyne modem, 2400/9600 data-fax modem, 250MB or 340MB hard drive, Quick Dock or Power Dock docking units