Long before the Tramiels came along and created the Falcon030,
Atari under Warner Communications had its own "Falcon".
Headed up by Steve Bristow, Project Falcon was Atari's all new division
in the making. According to Atari Press release brochures
from the 1983 CES, after nearly 2 years of working in mystery and secret,
Atari engineers had created a whole new line of consumer electronics.
Under the Project Falcon name, all of the prototypes of the various products
were given names of birds. Features listed were as follows:
to view the ATARITEL
AtariTel phone designs
by Porsche Designs
to view AtariTel
"New Business Opportunity"
Internal 1981 Document
(133 page, 5.5MB Adobe PDF)
The "Lumaphone", the
Atari Videophone in its finished form sold by Mitsubishi Electric of America.
The phones could transmit an image in 3-5 seconds and could have a parallel printer
attached for printing out images, also a TV could be hooked up to the unit for conference
room meetings to display a larger image. This is a "Could've Been" Atari technology.
After the purchase of Atari's computer and video game division, Warner Communications retained the arcade division and was left with the AtariTel division which the Tramiels did not want, the key AtariTel engineer Bill Briskoe and many laid off in the transition that worked from the other divisions stayed at the AtariTel division. The Atari Videophone was sold to Mitsubishi Electric and Bill Briskoe worked with Mitsubishi to complete the project. The actual Videophone was showcased on the front page of Popular Science at one time. As for what happened to the remaining technologies that Atari worked on in the AtariTel division, most of the features that were listed in their press brochures and articles in magazines are seen today in products sold at Radio Shack.
Atari Lumaphone Patents (IBM Patent Database)
a sad note: The Staff of the Atari Museum was in contact with Jerry Silvia
of Mitsubishi's now shut-down Luma-Phone division. Apparently
we were too late in saving and preserving these precious pieces of Atari
history. Several years ago, Mitsubishi legal department requested that
all original Atari prototypes and paperwork involving the Luma-Phone videophone
project be destroyed. This is a tragedy which we hope doesn't
happen again in the future. If you are aware of anyone
with Atari prototypes, please contact the staff here at the Atari Museum and the Atari
History Society so that we may contact these individuals and preserve these
pieces of important history.