Jack Tramiel, Commodore, CES, 1984, 264, 364
Jack Tramiel's Last Commodore Computer

From the New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/technology/jack-tramiel-a-pioneer-in-computers-dies-at-83.html here is a picture of Mr. Tramiel holding what called TED  for TExt Display, a computer decidedly designed not to compete with the C64 which ruled it's niche.  The smaller computer was the 264 and was supposed to cost $79, the larger one was a 364 and had a speech set designed by the TI Speak-and-Spell guys.   This picture was taken at the 1984 CES show in Las Vegas.
This was the last computer system ordained by Jack while at Commodore, and up until Chris Liendo brought me my own copy of the NYT for April 10th at the VCF East talking about Jack Tramiels' passing, I did not know that there existed a picture of Jack with these computers. 
Here is proof that the 364 existed!  Also known as Talking Ted it was to be packaged with a special version of talking Magic Desk software.  I have to believe that the 264 was a targeted system from the vision of Jack Tramiel, CBM later turned it into the PLUS4 and tried to charge something like $279 for it.
TED Team:
Chip Design: Bruce Ahearn, Dave DiOrio, Eric Chow Yan Yang
Hardware: Bil Herd, Dave Haynie
Software: Fred Bowen, Terry Ryan, John Cooper, Hedley Davis
PCB: 4th Generation, Terry Fisher
Chip Layout: Michael Angelina, Dave Esposito, Joan Brenecke, Sandy Roshong, Jim Rollhauser
Drafting: Sue
QA: Screw Them
Lab Techs: Gail Moyer, Lucky Kowalski, Jeff Brenecke, Curt Guthrie, Kim Constein
CBM Texas
Dr. Richard Wiggans
Tom Brightman
John Fegans
The guy who did the metal mask cmos gate array (John?)
Misc Management
Jack Tramiel
Shiraz Shivji
Joe Krasucki
Dr. Bill Miller
Alcohol provided by Courtyard Inn and Margaritas/Evergreen


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Wowowow, only $79! What is the talking Magic Desk software? Text to speech?

Hi Erin,
Magic Desk was a icon driven desktop with a file cabinet for file system and a trashcan for delete, etc.  Yes it was before Apple "invented" these things, but after PARC, it is half funny listening to some of the rewrite of history, sometimes it ain't so funny more like frustrating.
Magic Voice was a TTS extension of Magic Desk and also available as general purpose cartridge for C64.  We even had a voice operated joystick as an input device that Benny Pruden had brought with him from CBM Texas.  The guy that wrote the underlying code went on to work at US Robotics and developed things like v.32bis in the early days of BBS's and internet.
They had to compile the speech tokens on a main frame I seem to remember that they used a sound lab and a month of processing to make the 256 words. 
I spent some time with Dr. Wiggens at the CES show, I got him to loosen his tie and drink a beer and relax, and watched him put other people's systems through their TTS paces.  I remember him using the word "hobo" as one of his tests.

It was tokenized text to speech, so it had a vocabulary of 256 words that were carefully analyzed and encoded by main/miniframes.
We had stolen the guys from TI, where the Speak and Spell was a game change for home technology.
Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPD5N43VIsk where I babble on about the $49 version and how it morphed into a $379 dollar monstronsity after Jack Tramiel left.
Good to have you hear with us Erin!  I need to catch RobotParty some time, I have a quadraped I am attempting to  teach to do a "shoulder shrug".

Why did you not just used SAM from the C64, or ask the company who programmed it to port it?

Who were the guys from TI that you had stolen? I read the specs for the TMS 5220. Truley amazing chips. The serial execution and their computation units was way ahead of its time. And I think almost no well known chips has been close to effectiveness.
I think this project has a similar resemblance to the another jack computer. Jack was behind the Atari 65XEM computer with a chip called AMY. I think that Jack was key on then he understood the importance of sound in computers. But computers with sound was a big no, with business people.
And Nolan was also well aware of the importance of sound. "We found that Music and sound if well done increased earnings drastically. The ability to make good sounds with the technology at the time was expensive and less than satisfying in many cases. Pong for example just used signals that were already available from the video drivers." - Nolan.

I can only overlay my assumptions based on being in the enviroment but I would assume that they wanted to have a hardware speech capability built in (with Basic support) rather than pitch a computer that can run another piece of software that should work with your software.  Plus it is a marketable entity, a uniqueness... I think Mr. Tramiel is one of the people that never had any doubt as to what a TED could be while not being a C64, when he left the company where mmost epople were hired in teh wake of the C64 didnt know what to do.
Hardware was sweet, write a register with a token pointer and it took care of the rest.  To the user you just entered SAY "Purple" and off it went.
The people from the TI speak and spell dev team were Dr. Richard Wiggens and Tom Brightman.  I believe that John Fegans (Vic20/C64 Kernal)  headed up the App support similar to Magic Voice / Magic Desk.