THERE IS no future in the QL market.
That is the view of a number of companies, including Adder, CP Software and Computamate, which have decided not to release any new QL products.
Each company has made the decision independently, but the reasons behind the moves are almost the same.
CP Software has had its fingers burned with the launch of its only QL title. Bridge has been selling well by mail order and many retailers have taken it. Chris Whittington of CP is finding it costly to support even the one product: "The QL is a bit of a catastrophe. We have had a good response from distributors. The problems occur with the returns. We get more microdrives back than cassettes because of unreliability. It costs us more to replace a microdrive cartridge than a cassette.
Adder Publishing is suffering the same trouble. Spokesman Adrian Dickens says: "The market is very depressed and there is not much future in it. Sinclair is showing no encouragement or help with duplication and it is largely left up to the individual companies to make arrangements.
"We will continue to support our current range but are moving into the IBM compatible market."
Computamate, manufacturer of a QL disc interface, has also decided to pull out of what it sees as a tricky market.
QL COMMS, the communications package from Tandata, has received British Telecom approval. The modem can now be linked direct to any BT appliance.
According to Tandata, orders for QL Comms have been coming in at 'a very healthy rate'. A spokeswoman for the company says: "It is still early days but we are seeking distributors so we can get the product out to retailers."
The package comprises: an intelligent serial port, full RS232 output and modem. More information can be obtained from Tandata Marketing, Worcestershire.
THE SPECTACULAR launch of the QL in the US has not materialised.
Nigel Searle, former managing director of Sinclair Research, went over to the States in May to organise the bonanza for which, he said, the American people were ready. Although Searle encountered 'immense interest' from the market little of that turned into hard cash.
A spokeswoman for the company comments: "Nigel Searle did not want to jump into a new and different market straight away."
So, any Americans wanting a QL will have to buy it from Sinclair Research at $499.00.
RETAILERS have been complaining about the lack of good QL software - in particular, games.
WH Smith is the leader in terms of size of range. It has three Sinclair Research products, including QL Chess. It also carries the two adventure games from Talent, a home accounts package from Dialog and Sprite Generator from Digital Precision.
Dixons, Currys and Laskys are not so lucky. You will be hard pushed to find a copy of QL Chess or Talent's West in those stores.
Boots is lagging way behind the rest of the retail chains. A spokeswoman announced that the company has just started to stock the QL but had to admit that "we only stock the package that we got with the QL order and a package from Talent". If you had not guessed, the package from Sinclair Research is QL Chess and Talent has supplied GraphiQL.
Despite the gloomy news, and even gloomier forecasts, Sinclair Research is confident that the QL will survive. Asked about sales of the machine a spokeswoman would not give any figures. Worldwide sales still amount to only 60,000 units.
CHAMBER CAPERS is the first arcade adventure from Snowsoft, a new company dealing exclusively in QL software.
Richard Snowdon, author of the program says: "the ultimate goal is to find a key. On the way through the maze you can pick up various objects which will aid you in your battle."
Snowsoft sees education as a more lucrative market than games, so Chamber Capers may be your first and last chance to see a game from Snowsoft.
IN A DRAMATIC turnaround of policy, Sinclair Research has adopted a disc drive and interface package.
When the QL was launched, Sinclair stressed that it would leave floppy disc technology to others. Now the company has admitted that discs are important and chosen the package from Micro Peripherals.
Surprisingly, quality and performance are not the main factors used to decide which peripherals Sinclair adopts. A spokeswoman says: 'We do not claim that the peripherals which we badge are the fastest or even the best. They are the ones which are most compatible with our other peripherals."
The Micro Peripherals package does seem to be a strange choice. All other QL interfaces use the device name FLP. Sinclair has chosen to use the only package which uses FDV - for reasons of compatibility with MDV for microdrive.
A single drive coupled with interface and utility software costs £258.00, with additional drives available for £139.00 each.