When the Keyboard Component project was canceled, Mattel searched in a hurry to produce a small and cheap computer. They contacted Radofin Electronics Far East, based in Hong-Kong, who was manufacturing most of the Intellivision products. Radofin had just developped a line of three Z80 based computers. Mattel decided to sell the two first under their brand. The Aquarius 1 and 2 were born.
The Mattel Aquarius used a special version of the Microsoft Basic. When used with Basic, only 1.7 KB remained available.
There were no redefinable characters, but 256 predefined chars were available: 128 ASCII (numerals, upper and lower case alphabet, punctuation, symbols) and 128 graphic patterns. That was the only "graphical" features of the Aquarius !
Unfortunately the specifications were so poor for a 1983 computer, that the Aquarius 1 litteraly bombed. Three months after its release, Mattel decided to cancel the project and to sell back the rights and stocks to Radofin.
Radofin continued to sell Aquarius 1 & 2 under its own name, but without success...
Cool addons were developped for the Aquarius, but never made it to the shelves (apparently). There were a Master Expansion Module equipped with disk-drives and expansion slots for future add-ons. It even offered the CP/M compatibility!
Another sympathetic extension was the Home Computer System Command Console which allowed the Aquarius to directly control up to 255 electric devices. But when the computer was connected to this extension, it couldn't be used for anything else!
There were also a Modem planned and Mattel even announced network services for games and programs downloads...
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Specific Microsoft Basic interpreter
Rubber type. 49 keys
4 KB (up to 32 KB), 1,7 KB free for user
40 chars x 25 lines
80 x 72 / 320 x 192 dots
1 voice (3 voices with the Mini-Expander)
SIZE / WEIGHT
34,5 (W) x 15 (D) x 5,5 (H) cm.
Tape, Printer, Bus
External power supply (12v)
Thermic printer and plotter (1200 bauds), Tape-recorder (600 bauds), Mini-expander addon, RAM expansions (4 KB, 16 KB and 32 KB), Master expansion module & disk-drives (vaporware), Home Computer System