A NEW microcomputer for less than £90 has been launched by the same design team that produced the ZX Spectrum.
Called the Jupiter Ace the machine represents a departure from convention since it runs the high-level Forth language.
The machine is based around the Z80A microprocessor and features 8K ROM, 3K RAM, 32 x 24 display output, sound, and full size moving keyboard.
The launch follows considerable speculation concerning the activities of the two designers, Richard Altwasser and Steve Vickers, following their departure from Sinclair in April this year.
The Jupiter Ace, at £89.95, is the first low-priced micro to use the Forth language.
"We chose Forth in preference to Basic,- says Richard Altwasser, "because of its speed and flexibility.
"It is a very compact language and memory goes much further. In Forth you can define your own functions and tailor your program exactly to your needs - that's why it is so exciting.
"Basic has a fixed set of functions and, because of this. they are made as unspecific as possible.
"In Forth you can define new functions in terms of those that exist in the Rom or in terms of those you have already defined. In this way you can extend the language in the direction of the program you want to write in a very concise way.
"Forth is also so much faster - it is ten times faster than Basic."