A technical history of Acorn Computers (Version 0.6 Beta)

These pages contain a fairly brief technical history of Acorn Computers. I have decided to focus on the technology because that is where my interests lie. Only very major non-technical events in Acorn's history have been included. If anyone finds any inaccuracies in the following pages please contact me using the link at the bottom of the page, including a correction if possible.

Note that the information on these pages is not an offical history of Acorn's computers and has no official support from Acorn Computers.

These pages are under construction. I'm very busy at the moment, but I'm trying to sort these pages out as quickly as possible.

19th April 2004 - a few days late, but never mind... Happy Birthday, RiscPC! (10 years old on the 16th of April.)


Year Month Event
1978 December Acorn formed by Chris Curry and Herman Hauser.
1979 March System One launched.
1979 to 1980 Systems Two, Three and Four launched.
1980 System Five launched.
1980 Acorn Atom launched.
1981 November BBC Micro Models A and B launched.
1983 August Acorn Electron launched.
1984 BBC Model B+ launched.
1984 Acorn Business Machine range launched, including Acorn Cambridge Workstation.
1986 January BBC Master 128 launched.
1986 September BBC Master Compact launched.
1986 ARM second processor launched.
1987 Acorn Archimedes A305, A310 and A440 launched.
1989 January Acorn R140 UNIX workstation launched.
1989 April Acorn RISC OS 2 launched.
1989 May to July Revised Archimedes range launched, consisting of A3000, A410/1, A420/1 and A440/1.
1990 June Acorn R260 and R225 UNIX workstations launched.
1990 October Acorn A540 launched.
1991 ARM Ltd spun off as a separate company, to produce ARM processors.
1991 November Acorn A5000 launched. First RISC OS 3 machine.
1992 June Acorn A4 portable launched.
1992 August Acorn A3010, A3020, A4000 and Pocket Book launched. A5000 enhanced.
1993 September Acorn A5000 alpha variant released (enhanced A5000).
1994 April Acorn RISC PC 600 launched. Includes updated RISC OS 3.5 OS.
1994 August Formation of Acorn Online Media.
1995 March First StrongARM RISC PC Processor Card powered up.
1995 July Acorn RISC PC 700 and A7000 machines launched. Both includes RISC OS 3.6.
1996 Acorn and Apple launch Xemplar Education.
1996 August Acorn Network Computer (NC) launched by Acorn Network Computing, Set Top box 2 launched by AOM, Stork and NewsPAD launched by ART.
1996 September Acorn StrongARM RISC PC launched. Includes RISC OS 3.7.
1997 May Acorn A7000+ launched (an enhanced A7000).
1997 September Acorn StrongARM RISC PC alpha variant launched (enhanced StrongARM RISC PC). Acorn NetStation launched.
1998 ARM Ltd floated on stock market, worth £1 billion on paper.
1998 September Phoebe (later Phoebe 2100) announced but never released. Acorn Workstations Division disbanded. Acorn rebranded as Element 14 and shifts corporate focus.
1999 July RISC OS 4 released by RISCOS Ltd.
1999 to 2002 Hardware, software and systems using RISC OS continue to be developed. Life goes on in the Acorn world.

There are some gaps in this history. For example, I know that there was a PocketBook II released by October 1996, but I don't know how it fits in. Also, I don't know very much at all about the Acorn Network Computer, Set Top Box 2, Stork or NewsPad, and I can't remember when the StrongARM was transferred to Intel. I also don't know very much about the post-Acorn RISC OS machines, the R7500 and the Mico, among others. Any information on any of the reorganisations (in 1995/6 and 1997, I believe) would also be appreciated. If anyone can supply any information, or point me in the direction of some information, please e-mail me using the contact link at the bottom of the page.

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Robert McMordie

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