The Atari 1050 disk drive was Atari's replacement to the Atari 810 disk drive. The new Atari 1050 disk drive matched the new high-tech, low profile line of Atari XL home computer systems. The original Atari 810 could hold single density data (88K out of 100K diskettes) which was standard. The new Atari 1050 disk drives were DUAL-DENSITY disk drives and could use the older Atari 810 diskettes, but could also hold data in a new Enhanced Density mode of 127K. Although the standard for disk drives was 180K, this additional storage was welcomed by Atari users who bought the disk drives.
The only downside to the disk drives were their new version of Atari DOS: 3.0 which had compatibility problems with its earlier version: 2.0s Atari would later fix this problem with a very well designed and accepted and one of the most popular Atari versions of DOS: 2.5
Up to 4 Atari disk drives could be "daisy-chained" together. Using Atari's unique SIO bus (Serial I/O), each drive would connect to the next, forming a chain in which data was transferred. Although slower then other I/O buses used on other computers, Atari's SIO bus was a simple and convenient way for the non-computer literate to more easily add components onto their Atari computer systems (other brands of computers required internal cards, ribbon cables, complicated jumper block settings which were geared more towards the computer hobbyist crowd instead of the common individual with little computer knowledge).
The disk drive electronics and its mechanism were done by Tandon, the case design was done by Tom Palecki, formerly of Atari's Industrial Design group. Tom was also responsible for the design of the Atari 1055 3.5" disk drive which was never released by Atari, Inc. due to its sales in 1984.