Unboxing the Atari Touch Tablet

January 20th, 2009 by Benj Edwards

Atari Touch Tablet Unboxing

So I bought this Atari Touch Tablet last year, right? (always an encouraging way to start a blog entry) It was new in the box, and I documented the process of opening it up via the magic of digital photography. The pictures languished on my computer for some time, anxiously awaiting their day in the sun. Well, their time has come: as of yesterday, they’re part of a slideshow on Harry McCracken’s Technologizer, authored by no one but the one known as myself, me.

If you don’t recall, Harry McCracken has some renown as the excellent former-Editor-in-Chief of PC World, a position he manned for four years. Anyway, this slide show has apparently been a pretty big hit on Slash-something-or-other, especially amongst the personally-grieved-by-everything crowd who are currently neck-deep in complaining that it’s presented on 14 separate pages (instead of all at once, like other slide shows).

Long story short: I thought you might enjoy checking it out.

16 Responses to “Unboxing the Atari Touch Tablet”

  1. Layne Says:

    One of the Slashdot comments mentions an “easter egg” when you click on the Atari logo. Not sure if it was truely hidden or not, but figured I’d pass the word. I saw this posted on Engadget before Slashdot. Still cool, Slashdot can sometimes have a pretty uppity audience at times.

  2. XCALIBR8 Says:

    Awesome post. I still have one of these put away for archival purposes. I can’t do a damn thing with it as the only Atari hardware I still own is gaming related.

  3. Geoff V. Says:

    Nice article. It is unfortunate that the commenters used YOUR piece to react to the site’s format. However, I understand their point. Think of it in terms of civil disobedience; authors like yourself will not provide content if commenters continue to react solely to the crappy format.

    Honestly, I had the same reaction as several of the commenters, not enough to stop reading, but enough to say “come on already.”

    But I digress; the line about Brittany Spears was unexpected and hilarious. Great work.

  4. Benj Edwards Says:

    Hey, I just write ’em, I don’t put them together. As long as publishers want me to write for them, I’ll keep doing it, regardless of the comments.

  5. Bill Says:

    I really enjoyed the pics. I have the Atari touch tablet as well, in box with all paperwork and dos disk but am missing the cartridge. Funny, but my serial number is 417b. There is also an original purchase reciept for the unit dated 12/13/84 from Toys R Us for a whopping 49.97 + tax…I got this tablet when I won an ebay auction for an atari 800xl and some stuff for $39.00. Since the seller was fairly local, I went and picked up my winnings to save on shipping and was met with the motherload of Atari gear thrown in..Without going into to much detail I got 2 1040st’s with 1 sc1224 color monitor, 6 800xl’s, 3 original 800’s, 1 400, 5- 1050 disk drives, 1-1030 modem, 1- sx212 modem, tons of software, 3 cassette drives, 1 still in box with states and capitols software (The Educator), and a box of joysticks…wow..My suv was filled and when I got home and started unloading the boxes my wife almost has a fit….I was happy though…

  6. Benj Edwards Says:

    Sounds awesome, Bill. I love all that old Atari stuff. It’d be cool to find out who has touch tablet serial numbers 412B and 414B — the ones right next to mine.

  7. SirPaul Says:

    Honestly, if it were me, I’d never even touch it after I purchase it, if it were in mint condition like that. I’d pretty much just open it once to verify the condition, and then leave it in as perfect a condition as humanly possible. Then again, it was for journalistic purposes, and the fact that you took pictures is great. Plus, not everyone is as obsessive/compulsive as I am when it comes to the condition of electronics.

  8. Benj Edwards Says:

    Shh… don’t tell anybody I told you this, SirPaul, but the new-in-box tablet isn’t quite as rare as you’d think. If it were, I would have never opened it. As it was, though, I enjoyed playing around with it much more than looking at it through the box with my X-ray vision. 🙂

  9. Jason Scott Says:

    Oh, you knew I’d show up on this.

    Sorry, Benj, I can’t give you a pass on this one. You’ve written some excellent articles for some reputable organizations, but McCracken’s page is everything that’s wrong with a lot of weblogs out there.

    There’s no functional reason for shot-per-page with one sentence under them. Calling them “slideshows” is just a way to get around what they are: ad-suckers. Each reload is more ads brought up. And what ads! My god, there’s maybe 10% of the space related to any actual content (your slides) and the rest is just link link link link link….

    Are you that hard up for cash, kid? If it was about that, I’d have used a different name while writing for such a low-grade publication, regardless of the pedigree of the “editor”. You’d be in some great, great company; many writers and creators did off-brand versions of their own work (SF writing, tech columns, illustration, cartooning) under pseudonyms for money.

    I expect better of you.

  10. Jason Scott Says:

    Oh, and in before “you live in a dream world”.

    The gold standard for “here’s some neat stuff” is likely Dannychoo.com, which is a Otaku site run by a transplanted fellow from the UK who has worked for Amazon for years, and now has his own firm; he’s an excellent bridge between Japanese and western culture, and often creates features in which he unboxes, demonstrates, or talks about geek items.

    Here’s one in which he demonstrates a phone:


    Beautiful huge shots, all linkable directly, and all posted on Flickr so that people can reference them that way. It has a lot of ads on this page, but none are intrusive by most standards, and the content is classy, not doled out to you with intense, constant forward and back clicking. The audience is treated with respect, and respect comes back. And while censorship/editing might be occurring, the conversation below is focused on what it should be: phones.

  11. Benj Edwards Says:

    Jason: I’ll forward your message along to Harry. But don’t be surprised if he beats you up.

    Ok, I’m kidding!

    But seriously, I should clarify that I value your opinion, and I thank you for sharing it.

    P.S. I’ll next be writing under the name “Bert Lumpston.” Look out for my articles on the ten ways you can peel a banana.

  12. Bill Kendrick Says:

    Hey, I just bought one of these, new in box, too! (From B&C Computervision) I even took a photo of it right after I opened the box and took it all out. It’s an awesome device.

  13. Zoyous Says:

    Benj, I enjoy your articles disassembling various computers and consoles. But I can’t understand what seems to me to be a weird, relatively recent phenomenon in Western culture of fetishizing the opening of packaging.

  14. Benj Edwards Says:

    Zoyous, I think the unboxing stories are popular because it’s like reliving the excitement of having a new product all over again — there’s so much potential before you actually use a new tech item that ultimately gets lost or becomes ho-hum after you use it for a while.

    Even so, the only reason I documented the opening of this item is because it was 24 years old and it pained me to do so, so I wanted to make sure I preserved what the packaging looked like. I honestly had no clue that so many people would be interested in it.

  15. Geoff Says:

    Ditto to Benj’s comment about documenting the excitement surrounding opening a new toy. Even more so in this case, because I could have gotten this 24 years ago for Christmas. There was a distinctive “flavor” to the packaging of consumer computer products in the early to mid-80s. Most of them were fairly dull, but they held the promise of changing your computer using experience.

    As cool and fast-changing as computer technology is right now, its hard to have “wow” moments. I remember using a mouse for the first time and thinking, “this is going to change everything.” The same thing happened the first time I used a joystick or played a game in color.

  16. Chrisbones Says:

    INCREDIBLE! I had one back in 84 for my 800XL.. Never saw it in the box, as I got it from a friend. Very cool. Wish I had the old system. I think my parents finally trashed it a few years ago. Thanks!

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