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.
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
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) !
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 !
The DAI is conceived around a 8080A CPU and can use an optional AMD 9511 mathematic
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.
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.
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.
The built-in Basic language was written by DAI but shows a strong Microsoft
influence. It fits into 24k RAM.
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
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
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
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.
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.