Acorn Electron is a simplified version of the Acorn BBC-B, but still it is partially compatible. After the accomplishment of the BBC, Acorn and Chris Curry in particular needed an item to rival "£200 under” PCs and particularly the Sinclair Spectrum, its main competitor. However, what happened next was not very good for Acorn. Acorn couldn’t fulfill the demand for the new system, fundamentally due to manufacturing issues related with the large custom ULA at the heart of the Acorn Electron.
In 1984, Acorn chose to foresee every one of these issues and concentrated on creating the Electron in unlimited numbers. Anyway, sadly, public requirements and enthusiasm were on the wind down, and regardless of a broad £4-million advertising effort, 33% of the Electrons that were assembled never made it to the racks; abandoning big stockpiles of parts that had been paid for yet were never used.
Acorn Electron was entirely basic, compared to the BBC-B model. It had just one expansion port to play around with. Luckily, Acorn immediately launched the expansion called Plus 1, which included two ROM cartridge spaces, a parallel/centroids interface and a joystick connector.
The inbuilt Acorn Electron BASIC has been inherited from the popular at that time BBC BASIC and it was quite amazing with innovative features, for example, the capacity to define procedures with DEF PROC and ENDPROC or treating the error events. There was even an OLD statement which would recover a program deleted by NEW.
The graphics abilities were noteworthy for a PC of this class – Text mode with support of up to 80 columns and a high resolution of up to 640 x 256 pixels with 2 colors. The custom ULA created particularly for the Acorn Electron was responsible for the video presentation, sound and I/O. It was the genuine heart of the Electron.
The mechanical keyboard was great. BASIC statements were imprinted on most of the keys, permitting users to type them in one go. A little orange LED located on the left part of the keyboard was indicating if user were in lowercase or uppercase mode. Although Acorn Electron was much more powerful than ZX Spectrum it couldn’t beat it in sales.
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