Your Spectrum
Issue 2, March 1984 - QL User supplement
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Kewneat Emptor
If you want to be first in the queue for a QL, hear what the scourge of the personal computer world, Guy Kewney, has to say.
For those who like something to worry about, here's a suggestion - worry about when your QL will be ready.
There is a picture of the QL and its circuit board in the advertising brochure. We thought that looked like a nice picture, but decided we wanted our own. So we tried to get a QL to take photographs of. Guess what happened!
Our failure to get our hands on a machine was enough to start our investigations into delivery dates. First, we found that Sinclair Research despatch people were quoting "twenty- eight days" to anybody who asked when QLs would be available It didn't matter when you asked, it was always 28 days. So, we interrogated further and they said "It's 28 days from when you order - unless, of course, you ordered before January 20th. That's the earliest day from which it's 28 days; any orders before January 20th are taken as being orders placed on January 20th."
Spies who got into Psion (Sinclair Research's tame software house) tell us that the QLs they're using there are December vintage, and look like very early pre- production prototypes. And they don't have QDOS, the QL's multi- tasking operating software.
So, unless things have moved fast from the situation at the beginning of December, say our spies, the QLs are further away than we think. And the software, likewise, seems far from ready. With luck and help from all suppliers, it seems that we can look forward to seeing at least some QLs before April. But nobody in the business is really expecting to see hundreds before then.
And there is one other little bother ... memory. The QL itself has 128K of memory, which sounds a lot, but already a lot of software writers are
muttering that they won't really be able to use all that multi -tasking ability until they have the extra half megabyte 'add-in' memory that Sinclair Research promises. And when is that likely to appear? At launch time, Sinclair Research didn't even know what it would cost, and could only offer "before the end of the year" as a release date.
But everybody in the silicon business knows that between now and the end of the year, memory chips are going to be scarce. Even if you offer to pay a premium price, they'll be scarce, because all the silicon foundries are fully stretched meeting orders already accepted. And when did Sinclair Research ever show any inclination to pay a premium price?
To summarise, therefore, if you order now, you can expect to be the possessor of a QL before May. If you try to order memory now, you will be fobbed off. If you simply have to have a 68000-based computer with a half megabyte, it seems likely that you'll have to forget about either a Sinclair QL or an Apple Macintosh until 1985, and spend a fortune on a Sage instead.
There is good news, however. In a secret deal with Barclaycard and Access, Sir Clive has arranged that the £400 price of a QL will not bust your credit limit. That is, if your credit limit is £500, and you buy a QL, your credit limit will still be £500. If it is £600 but you have already spent £400, you will be able to buy your QL, and still have a £200 limit left. Sir Clive and the credit card companies are keeping this a secret until April; naturally we are telling you now.
In other words, you now have a lead on rival customers who are saving up! Buy now, with plastic money, and beat the queues ...
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