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O > OTRONA > Attache   


The Otrona Attache was the most wanted transportable computer at the time as it was the smallest of its category. Preceded by the Osborne and Kaypro II, the Attache was also more expensive than its competitors. Compactness has a price!

The Attache is this a nice little CP/M system. High-resolution graphics, compact keyboard, 64 KB RAM, real time battery-packed clock, composite video output, delivered with Wordstar, MBasic, CP/M, the Otrona Attache had all that was needed at the time to be efficient.

in 1983, Otrona released a second model, the Attache 8:16 which was in fact a "normal" Attache with an Intel 8086 expansion board built-in, thus offering the MS-DOS world in addition to the CP/M compatibility. The IBM PC was already putting a strong pressure on the market. The rush toward MS-DOS compatibility had begun, announcing CP/M death. Meanwhile, hybrid machines like this one appeared on the market illustrating the transition.

In May 1984, Otrona announced a new transportable model, the Otrona 2001, using an Intel 8088 processor. Sadly the 2001 wasn't completely IBM PC compatible and the production costs were high. Like its predecessor (Attache), the 2001 had real assets, but was too expensive compared to other portables. As Otrona didn't want to exceed the $3000 price limit to stay competitive against IBM and Compaq, they had to throw in the towel.

Too bad, as the demand for the "2001" ran extraordinarily well, as Otrona president Jim Lindner explained. 1000 orders in the month were common.

But in september 1984, Otrona Advanced Systems announced that it was ceasing production. It gave notice to its 175 employees and said that it had decided that is was not able to reorganize (and thus continue in business) under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Act. Jim Lindner hoped for a buyback which never came (?).

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
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This line above annoys me "Sadly the 2001 wasn''t completely IBM PC compatible...." . Actually, the 2001 was thoroughly tested and completely IBM PC compatible. At the time the company folded there was only one progarm identified that did not run correctly, the game ''frogger$'' that woould crash under some conditions. That was being thorouhly anlyed at the time the company folded. The company folded due to cash flow issues that had norhing to do with a PC ''compatibility'' issue. It was a Catch-22. Xebec refused to ship the disk controllers needed to buld the machines that were on order unless they were first paid in cash. Revenue could not be generated without the controllers. But the banks and the VC''s had decided they would give no more money to Otrona becase they had not met revenue goals. The problem is they were blindsided by the rise of the IBM-PC .... and the 8:16 co-developed with Phoenix Software, did not have the compatibilty needed to compete in the the PC compatible market. So, suffeirng from the resulting revenue loss, Otrona designed and built the superior 2001 in record time, including its own BIOS, but could not generate the needed revenue to continue because they did not have the cash to buy the disk controllers needed to complete the systems. It was a very sad thing. What was the best PC compatible in existence was kept out of the market by the bean counters. Otrona should have been as big or bigger than Compaq. The Compaq PC was a tugboat compared to the 2001. Oh well.

Monday 3rd May 2021
Steve Gray (United States)

I got myself a new-condition Attache with the padded case recently, on ebay. Works perfectly, but didn''t come with any software. Any suggestions or sources would be greatly appreciated. email I saw the previous posts by Charles Raisch but the site no longer exists, and it seems like he might have passed away since then.

I did some software development work that was intended to be used on the Otrona and Compaq portables, for utility company energy audits, in the 1980s.

Thursday 29th January 2015
Kerry Davis (USA)

Have original First Attache Users Group software library and some part.

Thursday 11th April 2013
Charles Raisch (USA)


NAME  Attache
TYPE  Transportable
YEAR  April 1982
KEYBOARD  compact full-stroke keyboard (QWERTY)
CPU  Zilog Z80A at 4 MHz
+ Intel i8086 at 8 MHz for the Model 8:16
RAM  64 KB
8:16 model: 256 KB when running in MS-DOS mode
TEXT MODES  80 x 24
GRAPHIC MODES  320 x 240
COLORS  No (monochrome built-in 5.5'' CRT display)
SIZE / WEIGHT  12 x 5.75 x 13.6 inches / 19 lbs
I/O PORTS  expansion slot, keyboard connector, two RS-232c ports, video output (composite)
BUILT IN MEDIA  5.25'' built-in floppy disk drive (360 KB)
+ MS-DOS with 8:16 model
POWER SUPPLY  AC power or battery pack (optional)
PERIPHERALS  second 5.25'' floppy disk drive, 10 MB hard disk, parallel interface, carrying case, battery pack
PRICE  $3995 (USA, 1982)

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