The Walker concept
|Developer: Escom/Amiga Technologies
First seen: 19th October 2002
A symbol of the post-Commodore era or a glorified vacuum cleaner? Since it
was announced in 1996, the Walker has evoked a
strange reaction among Amiga fans - a strange mixture of reverence and criticism.
The case design, created by Frog Design, presents an overwhelming European feel
that depicts a curved elegance - an increasingly important theme in the mid
90s computing market.
Although the Walker was killed when Escom entered liquidation and abandoned
by Viscorp in their planned Amiga purchase, the
Gateway-owned Amiga International & the standalone Amiga Inc. remained in
possession of the concept designs and schematics for the prototype. On July
29th 2001, Merlancia Industries announced
the purchase of the Walker design, along with the MCC, for use in their 'Radian'
PPC-based machine. In recent times Thendic France have also promoted the notion
that the Pegasos board could be sold in a modified Walker case. The original
Walker may be dead, but its spirit lives on!
It is with much gratitude that I would like to thank Raquel Velasco, Bill Buck
& Nicholas Blachford of Thendic
France for providing these concept designs.
Walker: Version 3
The design, labelled as 'variante 3' on the sketches, appears to be an
early version of the Walker case. Although the dimensions are correct
and there are many recognizable features of the actual prototype (drive
bays, reset button, raised appearance), it lacks the vents and legacy
expansion of the final design.
Walker version 6: Tower
A combination of the Walker helmet and a full-size AT tower case. The
naming convention suggests that version 3 & 6 is one of many similar
case designs that were proposed at the same time. Based upon these designs
the Walker v3 case design was chosen, most likely due to the economics
of producing a new Amiga. However, it is possible that an upgraded Walker
variant would have been housed inside a full tower case.
Similar to the previous designs the top-half of the case can be detached.
It is likely that enterprising third parties would have used this feature
to sell additional drive bays, similar to the Infinitiv
range. Also note that the reset button has been moved above the floppy
|Walker version 6: Tower
A coloured version of the Walker tower case. It is a fair bet to predict
the final version would have been black.
Walker phase 2: Desktop version
This appears to be the design chosen to be the public image of the new
Escom Amiga. The design shows a clear evolution of the above design, expanding
upon its curved appearance and providing space for peripherals at the
front and back. In this design it is obvious that the top-half of the
case can be removed if the user wishes to upgrade their machine.
Of particular interest, the top-left design shows two unlabelled expansion
slots that are not present in the prototype cases shown at the various
Amiga shows over the years. These spaces were most likely intended for
the Zorro/PCI expansion. When compared with the internal
view it is evident that a riser card would have been required to allow
the expansion boards to be angled out of the back of the case.
|Walker phase 2: Tower version
As a follow-up to the original Walker model, the concept design shows an
upgraded design that would allow the use of 6 internal cards (Zorro, PCI,
or a mixture of both).
Walker keyboard: version A and B
The image shows two potential keyboard designs for the Walker. Unlike
the black A4000 keyboard that usually appears with the Walker, these designs
show the potential for combining new shapes with the familiar Amiga layout..
The bottom image (labelled variante A on the original) is reminiscent
of similar IBM keyboards, while variante B (top) is influenced by early
Microsoft ergonomic keyboards. Both designs continue the curved appearance
that is common among Escom computers.
Last Update: 25/10/2002