BT Merlin Tonto

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The Tonto was the same model as the ICL OPD and the Telcom ComputerPhone which was intended for the Australian market. Like the ICL version, the Tonto was sold only in the U.K. It was born thanks to a collaborative venture between British Telecom, ICL and Sinclair Research. The designers idea was to build a centralized desktop information system able to access online services, mainframes and other similar systems through the British Telecom network.

It was essentially a Sinclair QL at heart, featuring the same 68008 processor. Applications software were stored in plug-in ROM cartridges or Microdrive tapes. Sadly, both of them were not compatible with QL interfaces and microdrives format and the specific Tonto O.S. couldn't run ordinary software made for the QL, even in BASIC language.

Made in the UK and introduced in 1985 and was maintained up to 1993

The price at the start was £1,500. Sold to British Telecom staff for £100 complete when BT stopped to maintain them.
Neil Cook who used to work on the Tonto National helpline has reported that 'The Outstanding New Telecommunications Opportunity", is where the Tonto is supposed to have got the name.

Manufacturer: ICL
Date: 1985

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ICL PERQ 1 Workstation ICL 1981
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ICL DRS8801 ICL 1983
ICL PERQ 2 T1 Workstation ICL 1983
Designer Prototype ICL OPD ICL 1984
ICL NB386S ICL 1984
ICL Personal Computer Model 36 - 8122/20 ICL 1st June 1984
ICL Perq 3A ICL 1985
ICL OPD (Boxed) ICL 1985
ICL DRS M15 ICL 1988
ICL DRS M45 ICL 1988
ICL Fujitsu PCTV ICL March 1995

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH2148. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


BT Merlin Tonto

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