Atlantic Computers Plc’s long-awaited assault on the data communications market has been dogged by problems, but the company, which had hoped to make a major announcement last November, says it will now definitely launch at February’s Which Computer? Show. The product to be unveiled will be Orator a plug-in board for the IBM Personal and compatibles which will enable a series of voice and data communications functions to be carried out on the Personal. The main problems have been with ironing out bugs in the software which must be down-loaded onto the Personal once the plug-in board has been inserted. Warren Palmer, an Atlantic director and now director in charge of the Lion Systems subsidiary where the new products are under development, told us that he was keen to build further facilities into the software for Orator before finally bringing it to the market, and that this was taking longer than expected: he cited as an example the addition of a facility for remote access. The other major problem that held up introduction of the new product was the need to gain final approval for its use on telephone lines from the British Approvals Board for Telecommunications: the examining engineers were unable to decide whether it was a telephone, a small private branch exchange or an answering machine. The product was finally given approval for UK use shortly before Christmas.
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