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Pippin Appears

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The Pippin-platform "Atmark" developed by Apple and Bandai is now on display and for sale in Japan. But you can't just drop into your local computer store and pick one up; you'll have to either place an order at a designated dealer or call a toll-free number (something Bandai inexplicably calls a "Digital Distribution System"). A unit will then be shipped directly to your home.

The Atmark is configured just as it has been reported by others: a PowerPC 603 (66 MHz) CPU, internal quad-speed CD-ROM drive, 14.4 Kbps external modem, 6 MB RAM (expandable to 14 MB), a game controller, and ports for connecting a television, monitor and other peripherals. The list price has been set at 68,000 yen, or about $635. The price includes four CD-ROMs: Internet Kit (which includes Netscape Navigator and other Internet software), TVWorks (an integrated email, word processing, and drawing package), and a two others with interface software for a computer service called Franky Online.

Bandai plans to release a number of peripherals in June. These include a keyboard with a handwriting input tablet and pen (it looks like a small, white PowerBook and is priced at 9,800 yen), a floppy drive that sits under the Atmark (12,000 yen), RAM expansion cards (2, 4, or 6 MB - no prices have been set), a printer, and various cables for connecting Atmark accessories to a Macintosh (or vice versa). A 28.8 Kbps modem is also said to be in the works.

Bandai advertises over 100 software titles are for sale now or under development, and the titles run the gamut from games and horoscope software to quasi-reference materials ("World's Diving Spots") and interactive music videos. Though some are priced as low as 3,800 yen, most average 6,800 yen (about $65). Bandai has also established an online service for Pippin Atmark users, providing access to Internet services for 2,000 yen a month (for up to 10 hours of use).

More information on Pippin Atmark is available (mostly in Japanese) from Bandai's web site.

<http://www.bdec.co.jp/>

 

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