Atari ST Book (codename "Maxi-ST") was an complete overhaul of the Atari STacy, Atari's first
portable computer. It was aimed at the Music market in particular
(as was the STacy) and was, like many Atari products, well ahead of it's
time in design and functionality terms.
STacy was heavy, bulky and suffered from extremely short battery life -
these were the main design areas which were addressed with the ST Book
LCD screen on the STacy was backlit, the ST Book had no backlight
feature to aid battery life - this made using the machine in low light
condition difficult. The hard drive was a new slim-line unit and
the keyboard was a "typical" PC portable size.
footprint of the machine was A4 (8.5 inches x 11 inches x 1.4 inches)
and it weighed in at 4.3lbs (2 kilos). The Stacy weighed in at
just under 15lbs!
also introduced a number of new design features, such as the
"Vector Pad", cursor to the Touch Pad technology commonly seen
on portables today. The ST Book also had a
curious "space" under the Vector Pad which some have suggested
was for a modem being designed at Atari.
ST Book has no Floppy Disk Drive (FDD), and instead, data transfer is
done via a serial cable which utilised the built-in ST Book transfer
software. (The ST Book does have a DMA port for a 3.5"
FDD or external HD. An optional external FDD was announced, but
never delivered). The built-in Hard Drive was a 40MB unit, (65MB
was available) and it came with either 1MB or 4MB of RAM.
was via 7 AA batteries housed in a compartment
on the underside of the ST Book. This provided up to 5 hours of
power. Strangely, the AC Adaptor (110/220V switchable) and the rechargeable
NiCad battery pack (up to 10 hours power) were an optional extra.
you can see Tracy Hall, Atari's ST-Book designer, with the
"Block of Wood", which is how the prototype ST-Book was
shown for the first time in Europe in March 1991, the ST Book wasn't
released until May 1992. A Production run of approx. 1000-1200
units was released until the machine was no longer available in
1993. The ST Book was not released in the U.S.