SINCLAIR CARTRIDGES MAY BE OUT OF STEP
SINCLAIR has just announced the Interface Two, which has followed the Interface One within a few weeks. Interface Two provides two joystick sockets, which take standard Atari joysticks and a ROM cartridge slot. The joystick ports are non-standard, as the only software to work with them is from Sinclair or Psion.
They operate the number keys only and each joystick operates the first or last set of numbers. Despite the advertisements there is no software built into Interface Two - only a ULA to act as a port for the joysticks. The ROM cartridge socket is also a disappointment, as it provides no special switching to page ROMs in and out.
The cartridge has all 16 address lines and eight data lines on it but, because of the way Sinclair designed the Spectrum, none of the internal memory can be switched off, so the only programs which can be provided can be 16K long versions which will replace the Basic ROM.
They are available by turning-off the power, plugging- in the cartridge and turning-on the power. The games then auto-start.
An interesting point is that Sinclair has saved money by having the bare silicon chip wired direct to the PCB instead of mounted inside the normal IC casing.
A printer connection is provided at the back of the unit to run the Sinclair printer only. That is because none of the other connections is connected. It would seem that Sinclair has produced its last peripheral for the Spectrum.
At £19.95 for the Interface Two and £14.95 for each ROM cartridge, they may not be in great demand unless the price is reduced dramatically. The joysticks are also out of step with software manufacturers who program games to work with the Kempston-type joystick interface. Sinclair Research is the only company selling Interface Two. The address is Stanhope Road, Camberley, Surrey GUI5 3PS. Tel: 0276 685311.