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Flan Put On Ice

 
Published in Personal Computer News #053

Flan Put On Ice

The fabled Flan Enterprise micro will not now arrive in the shops until September - five months adrift of the promised April delivery date. It will also have yet another name - its fourth in twelve months.

The new name and the reasons for the five month delay were due to be given at a press conference this morning (Wednesday) together with details about manufacturing and marketing plans.

But users won't have to wait until September before they get detailed information about the micro. A user group will be set up before then complete with a club magazine giving details of software and programming tips.

The official reason for the production delay is the problem arising over the need to change names and a desire to fully debug the machine before it goes on sale.

"We want to produce a trouble-free product and one that is available in enough numbers to satisfy initial demand," said Michael Shirley, Flan marketing director.

"We have talked extensively with the retail trade who would rather see a fully debugged model appear in September in time for the Christmas rush," he added.

Debugging the Enterprise could be a complex exercise due to the machine's innovative graphics and sound capabilities. These are achieved using two custom-made chips called Nick and Dave.

As would-be QL users are finding out and early Spectrum owners already know, custom-made chips invariably have bugs in them which can take some time to be tracked down and cured.

The first pre-production models of the micro should be available by the end of May giving Flan's engineers and the critical micro press plenty of time to identify any faults in the machine and its circuitry.

At the time of going to press, Flan was not prepared to say what the new name of the company (and the micro) would be.

However, Michael Shirley did confirm that the last change was more of a light-hearted publicity stunt than a serious intention.

It also got it temporarily off the hook of a legal action it was facing.

Elan Digital Systems of Crawley took out an injunction against Elan Computers in December 1983 over the user of the name. Elan Computers lost a subsequent battle to overturn the court decision.

This was not the first time the company was forced to change its name. When the company was first set up last year, it wanted to call both itself and the micro Samurai.

Peter Worlock