The company which sold one of the original PCs in Australia, the M24 and the M24sp, exited the computer business in 1997. The computers were launched by Weston Communications, a company I owned at the time.
The Olivetti executive responsible for PCs at Olivetti was Peter Hatch.
Last night Olivetti launched an Android tablet PC, the OliPad, on the Italian market, and may yet offer it in Australia, priced at around $599.
The OliPad – pictured – has a 10-inch screen, 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity, an Nvidia Tegra 2, Android 2.2.2, and a 1024 x 600 display. It also features USB and HDMI ports and a 1.3 megapixel camera. In Italy it well sell for 399 euros (about A$550).
David Frith said that Olivetti is best remembered by older journalists and office workers for its stylish Lettera portable typewriters – almost every journo toted an Olivetti Lettera in the 1950s and 60s (big advantage of the Lettera, apart from its light weight, was its flat back: when you’d finished tapping out your story on copy paper, you could flip the Lettera up on its back, regaining your desk space to do the crossword, or fill out your expenses).
Olivetti PCs, also produced with Italian design flair, were popular with business in Australia in the late 1980s and early 90s.
After mounting debts and indiscretions by flamboyant boss Carlo De Benedetti – convicted of fraud in connection with the collapse of a major Italian bank and sentenced to six years in jail, later overturned – Olivetti sold the PC business in 1997 and eventually became a subsidiary of Telecom Italia. Nice to see it back.