The FREDDIE allowed the ANTIC
chip to access separate memory from the regular 64K of the XL system which
meant that the system could display more colors and more complex displays of
graphics without sacrificing the memory available for the programs to run.
The next new enhancement was the inclusion of a SC-01 speech synthesizer
chip and modifications to the OS to allow for a V: handler for VOICE.
Included with the new system was a cartridge called The 1400XL Telecommunicator which utitlized the voice synthesizer to announce changes
in the configuration of the terminal program such as baud rate, line feeds,
wrap around and so on.
The last feature which was given away by the note
of the cartridge was a built-in 300 BAUD modem. This is my option was a
bad decision. Atari had the right idea in seeing that tele-computing was
definitely the way of the future, but was still playing the "We'll sell them
a closed box and if they want more features next year they'll have to run
out a buy a whole new one". What Atari should have done was make the modem
a slide in module which could have been removed and replaced with a 300-1200
modem or faster as time went by or simply added a built-in RS-232c port to
allow users to plug in their own choice of modems such as the ever popular
Hayes modems. As a point of interest to collectors; the original 1400XL's
that were made have motherboards which actually say 1400 on them, later on
Atari opted to create a universal 1400/1450 motherboard called the 1450XL
which has a power connector and PBI daughter-card connector on it for the
addition of disk drives.
The idea was to make a single motherboard for
both the 1400XL and for the 1450XL's which would have the daughter card
installed with a disk drive. The best non-enhancement was the fact that
Atari went back to using the Atari 1200XL type casing again along with that
wonderful keyboard. The 1400XL was meant to be the direct replacement
for the 1200XL which was released at the beginning of 1983, but its
expansion bus and OS were not ready yet so it was shipped without Expansion.
The 1400XL (originally the 1201XL) was to be the 1200XL's replacement.
However it had added features and a higher cost, so it became the 1400XL and
Atari's 800XL was to be the 1200XL direct replacement in a much more
affordable design at $299 versus the 1200XL price of $899.