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I > INDATA > DAI


INDATA
DAI

laser50

> INTRODUCTION
Rumour says that Texas-Instrument approached Data Applications International (DAI), a belgium company, to design a personal computer with sound, graphics and colors for the European market, using Texas-Instruments components. But later Texas-Instruments decided to market their own personal computer, the TI-99/4, in Europe, so the "DAI" project was canceled.

Then, the belgium company decided to market the project under their own brand. The DAI computer was born. At that time, 1980, the DAI specifications were impressive ! The main competitors were the Apple II, the Tandy TRS-80 and the Commodore PETs and CBM series, not computers known for their fantastic sound, colors and graphics...

Sometimes in 1982, the DAI wasn't produced by Data Applications International anymore, but INDATA, another belgium company, succeeded to them, and sold the DAI under their own brand. The keyboard was then changed, it got colored, and one year later the DAI was equiped with a new enhanced graphic resolution (512x244) !

 

> THE DESIGN
The design of the DAI is quite ... special. It looks more like a bidet than a real personal computer ! And the white color of the case has often turned to a ugly yellow nowadays. But the particular shape of the DAI is in fact quite practical, because you can use the room just above the keyboard to put your books, listings, tapes or whatever. Clever !

 

> TECHNICAL DETAILS
The DAI is conceived around a 8080A CPU and can use an optional AMD 9511 mathematic co-processor..

The RAM is of 48k, quite enough in 1980 (start of the DAI), but not very impressive in 1984 (start of the end for the DAI), especially if you wanted to use the high-resolution (512x244). Indeed if you want to use the high-resolution with 16 colors, nearly all the RAM will be reserved for the graphic display... So you have a wide range of resolutions to choose from : 65 x 88, 130 x 176, 256 x 336 and 512 x 244 each with 16 or 4 colors.

The DAI is also a quite good musician, with 3 channels (30Hz to 1Khz) and a noise generator, it's a real small synthesizer, with a lot of settings available, all available through simple Basic statements. But the best thing is that all of this is in stereo so you can directly plug your DAI to your Hi-Fi system through its audio stereo output.

The system was first sold with different RAM sizes, from 8k models to the full 48k models. With the 8k models, you couldn't use the high resolutions since there wasn't enough RAM for them.

 

> PROGRAMMATION
The built-in Basic language was written by DAI but shows a strong Microsoft influence. It fits into 24k RAM.

This Basic is semi-compiled, that is to say, every line is analysed when you enter it. If there is an error, it tells you immediatly. This Basic is thus also quite fast, compared to the other Basics available on the contemporary machines, since it is compiled in an intermediate code that is faster to execute than the Basic itself.

The editor is a real standalone little program that you can call up with the EDIT Basic statement. Then you can modify the program in a full-screen way, erase, insert whatever you want and the press BREAK + SPACEBAR to save and quite, or BREAK twice to quit the editor without saving. Very convenient.

 

> CONNECTIONS AND EXTENSIONS
Before they conceived the DAI, Data Applications International were producing hardware using the "DCE" bus. This type of bus is implemented on the DAI, which allows to plug a lot of boards developped at that time, since the DCE bus was quite popular.

Apart from the numerous DCE boards, there were an official double disk-drive for the Dai, a impressive indeed. There was also the Memocom, a kind of digital tape reader/recorder. The Memocom was quite popular for the DAI as it was an alternative and less expensive way to save data than the disk-drive.

 

> CONCLUSION
The DAI was an fantastic computer when it was launched, but unfortunately it was a bit too expensive. So it wasn't clearly perceived as a personal computer nor as a professional computer ! Its high resolution was quite impressive and everybody knew the drawing made with the excellent CLIO software. The sound capabilities were also great. A few good games were developped for the DAI (mostly Arcade adaptations). Sadly the DAI had nearly no success, because of its high price like we just said, but also because of its bad sale promotion/communication.

 

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Bons côtés dotclear.gif (172 octets)

+ Great graphical possibilities
+ Great sound

+ DCE bus

dotclear.gif (172 octets) Mauvais côtés dotclear.gif (172 octets) - High price
- Not enough software
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