CeBIT Logo

This is a report about the things concerning the Amiga I managed to see in one day, if you want other CeBIT related stuff visit the Cebit '96 server.

Below are some thumbnails you can click on to see the full pictures. I have chosen for reasonable quality against very good size/compression. For this end I have converted the JPEGs to 256 colours with dithering. The originals are much better, so if you want these pictures for your own page or magazine, don't hesitate to contact me. I also haven't got all pictures here as they were scanned for me, some (like the Motorola booth) might appear later on.


CeBIT entrance The entrance to the CeBIT grounds. It took a while to get there but we managed :) The entrance fee was 50 DM, quite a bit for a show, but since the CeBIT is mainly business oriented it's reasonable I guess. Just too bad I forgot to reclaim it when we left as I had a press pass (I was reporting for the Dutch Amiga Magazine). Come to think of it, I also forgot to swindle MicroSoft out of a free meal at their stand..

Escom booth Our last stand? Noone suspected Escom would sell Amiga Technologies as quickly as they bought it, but it happened anyway. A literal sign on the wall was a multitude of people bringing up graffiti on the neighbouring wall and chanting Amiga! Amiga! in front of the stage, since the multimedia presentation with air guitar and all didn't involve an actual Amiga.. Their booth was nothing spectacular, though tidy. Twice a day an A1200/Surfer was given away in a lottery, some people weren't doing anything else but filling out the contest cards all day.

Motorola booth A much more heartening sight were the three Amigas on display at the Motorola booth, everything else there was promoting the PowerPC architecture, which hinted at what Motorola's ideas with the Amiga were (sorry, picture delayed).

Walkers Back to the Escom booth. The news of the day was the Walker prototype, although now cancelled (well, rumours do fly) it was what everyone was waiting for: activity from Escom/AT showing that they are doing something. It's design was already heatedly discussed on the grounds, some were likening it to a cross between a vacuum cleaner and Darth Vader's helmet, others were of the opinion that it looked great and wouldn't fall out in a modern study or living room. It certainly is a novel design, one that is at least good for getting the attention.

Walker closeup What was far more interesting were the internal specifications: 68EC030/40 MHz, integrated super I/O chip for high speed EPP parallel port and a fast serial port, modular design with one common bus for future upgrades such as PCI, integrated 4x CD-ROM drive and OS 3.2 with some bug fixes and enhancements. The motherboard is in the LPX format, so third party vendors or licensees can fit it in a more standard desktop or tower casing. The top can be removed and ready to fit '2nd stages' to be inserted between it and the base box for a towerlike expansion system. These modules would be distributed by AT to third party vendor specifications for optimal variety of expansion sizes. Or so the plan went.. A rudimentary Scala demo was running, there was no room for extensive scrutiny of the innards, software or hardware. Too bad it is not in the plans anymore, would have made the bookies happy on betting whether it would have succeeded. IMHO a 68030 is underpowered, even by Amiga standards, but at 40 MHz it is still faster than my current A4000..

Developer group The Motorola booth not only hosted far more interesting hardware, but also the Amiga developer conference. That alone was very good news to me, nothing could do the Amiga more good than a strong relationship with this renowned semiconductor manufacturer. If all VIScorp/Amiga Technologies are claiming is to be true, much of what was discussed there is still valid, so I guess the Non Disclosure Agreement I signed is too. Unless someone has $250.000 US lying around for small change I cannot divulge what was discussed there, but it seemed like the Amiga was finally on the right track for a change, handled by capable people. The picture depicts the people who spoke on various aspects of future hardware and OS development, draw your own conclusions from that. From left to right (if memory serves correctly): Dr. Peter Kittel (formerly C=, then AT documentation, now (also?) at PIOS in the same position), Gerald W. Carda (Phase 5), Dave Haynie (formerly engineer at C=, now at Scala and consulting for AT/PIOS, a.k.a. hardware GOD to some), Andy Finkel (formerly OS development at C=, now also at Scala, consulting for AT/PIOS), Jochen Becher (Haage & Partner), Cristoph Gülicher (product manager software at AT), John Round (Motorola). Not everyone is on the picture, I think Frank Reklies from MaZET (Walker) is missing. I hope I got everyone right :)

Dave Haynie Dave Haynie. Is it a bullet? Is it an aeroplane? Is it the Amiga hardware Guru, or what? Of course I couldn't let the chance slip to talk to the man himself, and snapshot him with the Amiga Magazine in the hands. In spite of some subtle attempts at deeper probing to what was going on within AT/Escom and with the future of the Amiga in general, he wasn't willing to tell much or wasn't sure, he kept his comments neutral and unsuggestive. It seemed he might have suspected about the Escom -> VIScorp sale, or he wasn't ready to commit himself to the extent that he might risk another emotionally painful demise of the Amiga by Escom's hands. So we chatted some about music, disk salvaging, pets and probably much more things I completely forgot about. I successfully restrained myself repeatedly from falling to his feet exclaiming "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!" :^)

CeBIT hall After the developer conference which lasted well into the first cleaning crew's rounds I met with Cristoph Gülicher to show the current AWeb beta; I like to think that he was impressed :) On an (almost) unrelated note: he voiced his disappointment with the unprofessional attitude of some Amiga developers, although I shall not mention names. After all was said and done (well, I only nearly got that nice German IBM rep girl's phonenumber ;), it was time to hasten our retreat and contemplate on the long way home, dusk had long before fallen on the grounds. The show was so huge my feet were hurting and still we didn't get a chance to see even a fraction of the grand design.. I will not bore you with the tales of how my buddy drove through flowerbeds and scarcely avoided hurting some sleeping ducks and truncating trees due to the effects of being exposed to hours long of Amiga rants from me and of exhaustion in general ;)


Will Amiga Technologies survive the technological tides of time? Will we ever see a Walker (replacement)? Or a PowerAmiga? Will I ever get a friend as crazy as to drive an Amiga fanatic across half of another country again? Will IBM still be employing nice female reps? Will they receive hazard bonuses? Till next year?

Yeah, next year in Hannover!

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