After being on sale for only a few months the Amiga 500 Plus was replaced with the Amiga 600 in March 1992.
The smallest Amiga ever made, it is similar in size to a laptop and weighs just 6 lbs. Originally the A600 was to be sold alongside the A500+ as a budget model to be named the Amiga 300, but instead replaced the A500+ which required a name change.
Very early models of the A600 have A300 printed on their motherboards, an indication of the confusion that was taking hold at Commodore after the surprise launch of the A500+. These early models also have a slightly different version of AmigaOS (although it is still version 2.05, it has the internal revision number 37.299) which doesn't have built-in support for the IDE or PCMCIA interfaces, the drivers for which must be loaded from a floppy disk. Later revisions of the AmigaOS (versions 37.300 & 37.350) have these drivers built-in.
The small size of the A600 also added to the incompatibility problems of the A500+. The numeric keypad had been removed from the A600 and this added hardware incompatibility to the already existing AmigaOS incompatibilities. Problems occurred with software that used the numeric keypad for inputs, mostly flight sims but also things like spreadsheets or office software, although a numeric keypad emulator was later released to address this problem.
As usual with the Amiga there were a number of official and unofficial bundles were available, with prices starting at £399. Also released was the Amiga 600HD which included a built-in hard drive.
But with the release of the powerful new Amiga 1200 later the same year, and at the same price as the A600, a great opportunity was missed. By this time sales of the Amiga's great rival the Atari ST were slowing considerably and instead of marketing the A600 as a budget machine (as it should have been originally), it was effectively pushed out of the market thanks to competition from Commodore themselves.
Interesting information from Malcolm Ramage:
The A600 was originally going to be sold as the Amiga A300, a low level Amiga to be sold below the A500/A500+. The Commodore directors were showing even more signs of dissarray than normal by this time, and the A500+ was cancelled and replaced by the A600, a re-badged A300. No cheaper and no different from the A500/A500+, except from the case, the HD option and the lack of numeric keypad (Which played havoc with flight simulators that relied on the keypad for dedicated functions).
Many of the first A600s sold had the model number A300 on the motherboards, showing the haste with which the last 'classic' Amiga was brought to the market. These models had no IDE interface on the motherboard, this had to be added via an expansion option, though they are few in number and rare to find.
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The Amiga laptop comment is incorrect, there was no amiga laptop after the 8 bit laptop was canned, none was ever considered. The A600 was the bastard son of the cancelled A300 that Commodore Uk requested and agreed on. The German commodore group however insisted on a hard drive and thus a big increase in cost. When the 600 was finally ready - none of Commodores divisions ordered it - no one wanted it. It was supposed to be a cheaper A500 (A300) and upgradable with plug in hard drive, ram etc up to the A500 spec
The Amiga 600 is famous for being the most hated of all Amiga''s! Commodore really screw up things with this model and made a lot of confusions. It was more expensive and had same performance as the Amiga 500!?! What is the point?? However, today you can get them much cheaper than an A1200 and upgrade it with 2Mb memory and a compact flash disk of 2Gb which makes it a great little gaming machine. Back in 1992 however it was a disaster!
Thursday 5th August 2010
Originally the Amiga 600''s mainboard was disigned and developed to be Commodores first attempt at a "Laptop Computer"! (Hence, the reason behind the lac of "Numeric Keypad" and the built in "PCIMA slot") Poor sales of the 500+ put pressure on Commodore to release it''s successor, all that was available at the time was the prototype "laptop mainboards"! Sadly the "Laptop Amiga" was canned, and the "600" was born! Oh, what could have been!?
Monday 25th May 2009
Darren Holt (Australia)
END OF PRODUCTION
Built-in keyboard, 78 keys
7.09379 MHz (PAL) 7.15909 MHz (NTSC)
ECS based chipset: 8375 Fat Agnus (memory controller and blitter), 8373 ECS Denise (video control chip), 8364R7 Paula (sound & I/O), Gayle (I/O, IDE interface)
1 MB Chip RAM, expandable to 6 MB max (2 MB Chip RAM + 4 MB Fast RAM)