jms2 wrote:So on reflection I reckon a modern Acorn machine should look quite a lot like an Atom, only a bit bigger, with a Master style keyboard - combined with the indefinable (to me anyway) glossy newness that the Spectrum Next has.
I always liked the look of the Atom, although the ridges must make the case very awkward to dust off. Maybe the Master Compact (keyboard) would be a reasonable starting point, but without the whole "black cardboard" keyboard inlay, going with the uniform moulding of the Electron's keyboard instead (whose grid plus logo decoration I always liked, and is very retro, so might actually be a better inspiration). This Spectrum Next thing might be nicely contoured and looks very shiny, but like the Spectrum+ it presumably follows on from, it still looks like a toy. (I see that they have to point out that the keyboard is not the same.)
dgrubb wrote:What I would pay good money for is an Archimedes-style inspired case, with modern outputs (USB, Ethernet, HDMI etc), into which you could just slot a Raspberry Pi Compute module loaded with the current RISC OS version.
I'm not a big fan of retro repackaging of modern machines, even though RISC OS really would run on the actual hardware in that case. No thanks to that RPi Compute Module, though: it just seems like a very awkward way of putting that hardware in stuff - maybe Broadcom got too good a deal on memory connectors and has to dump them into the market as well - and although anyone using the RPi is unlikely to be bothered by the single-sourcing issue, I'd rather see more open standards for computing modules being used. That said, given the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" pricing of the RPi Compute Module I/O board, what you suggest could indeed be lucrative.
BigEd wrote:The Beeb-coloured option for the Pi Fuze case is an example
This is the kind of thing that is obviously "just a bit of fun", but it is at the same time also an indictment of the "pretend culture" (I could say "hipster culture") that passes for normal these days. You're right that it was built to price, and I wonder what the margins were for what an unkind person might call a shoddy repackaging of the contents of a bargain bin.
lazarusr wrote:The real market would have to be former Electron owners - and that is a much smaller group than former Speccy owners.
I'm not sure it is limited to that. Some people like to pretend that they liked the Beeb or don't actually hate it - the vocal hate brigade are, of course, not necessarily representative - and you can see this with the Raspberry Pi and the way it was pitched. But as I was speculating about the case (above), I started to think that if one wanted to emphasise "retro", the Electron would be a better starting point: it may be the last Acorn product whose physical characteristics were entirely
custom designed or chosen for the purpose; you just need to look at the 8-bit successors to see re-use of the Electron or Beeb parts; the 32-bit products were all increasingly incorporating generic elements.
1024MAK wrote:Different people want different things, and the fact that prices on eBay for retro computers generally are rising indicates that there are a lot of people who want working Acorns (mainly BBC B machines). That is part of the possible market for a new machine, not just the regulars on this forum.
I think that the demand for retro computers exceeds supply, and acquiring machines from eBay isn't really a sustainable or efficient activity, either. Plus you need to have knowledge about them to avoid hazards - Beeb capacitor problems and general component aging - and to actually use them with modern displays and storage. So, while I personally think that it's great to sustain and enhance the actual old machines, I think there's absolutely a demand for newer machines that seek to reproduce the experience.
As I've now said far too often, what interests me more than fantasy remakes is the extrapolation of the old machines in a different direction to that pursued by their manufacturers, which is something that can be done with modern technology in a historically sensitive way, while also delivering a modern, reliable, and hopefully longer-lived product. That last part may be the most important part of all.