During the final days in 1984 of Atari's ownership under Warner Communications
new designs for Atari 800XL were in the works. One such
design called the Atari 800XLCR (Cost Reduced) involved a new motherboard
design which not only incorporated the "FREDDIE" Memory processor, but
also incorporated an entirely new chip design called "Keri".
Keri was the codename for the CGIA chip, which was the combined GTIA &
ANTIC chips into one. Many years ago a test
board was found called the "Keri
Performance Tester" and was marked during the Warner days of Atari,
however it was a mysterious since the center of the board had a new chip
holder which was a PLCC type and not a standard chip package that Atari
had used in the past.
The pieces to the mysterious puzzle all fell into place when this particular
design of 800XL motherboard was brought into the Atari Historical Society
archives, the new chip in the center of the board was none other then KERI
herself, showing that Atari was in the process of looking into in new chip
packaging and cost reducing designs. The
Atari 800XL line would've progressed farther and had a large market penetration
if in 1983 James Morgan had not stopped all production of all products
for 30 days while he examined the company when he took over in September
of 1983 after Ray Kassar stepped down as CEO of Atari.
Also hampering production of the 800XL line in 1983 was the long decision
process on whether the 800XL's should be manufactured at a much lower cost
in a new plant or left at the current plant that Bob Malloy was in charge
of running. After much debate it was decided to leave the 800XL
production at its current location and move it later.
These delays cost Atari the 1983 Christmas computer sales season, further
hurting its position in the computer market and opening up far more room
for Commodore to increase its already expanding lead in the marketplace.
The most crippling blow to the Atari Computer Division was the cancellation
of the high end
1450XLD computers which were nearly ready for the Christmas 1983 season
(incorporating such features as built in modems, speech synthesisers and
also on the XLD line a built in disk drive). The final major
blow was the cancellation of the
1600XL (codenamed Shatki) with its IBM compatibility features lining Atari up to become
a competitor in the PC marketplace early on.