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STD mulls WinXP PDA

By Chris Williams. Published: 28th Jul 2004, 19:07:44 | Permalink | Printable

It can run VRPC-Adjust too

Photo of an A5STD is currently considering whether or not to go ahead with a retail version of its WindowsXP powered PDA, that also runs VirtualRiscPC-Adjust. The compact sub-notebook, dubbed the A5, is currently a "proof of concept/technology demonstrator/development platform for a customer", according to STD.

The news of the A5 was broken in an exclusive preview in this month's RiscWorld magazine in a fairly impressive scoop, which probably has nothing to do with the overlooked fact that it's edited by Aaron 'VirtualAcorn' Timbrell.

The processor of the device is omitted from the online specification, although the highly portable unit boasts a 8.4" TFT display, 40G hard disc, 256M of RAM, USB, network interfaces, a built-in camera, and a memory card reader all inside a 240 x 180 x 25mm case.


The A5 website - more details, photos, OEM price tag

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It looks very nice.

It would be lovely if it didn't involve XP.

W2K version? Linux-Wine version?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 28/7/04 7:15PM
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I agree it looks good.

And good for Advantage six, they seem to get more and more products for other than normal use.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 28/7/04 7:27PM
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One assumes this is more of a tablet-PC than a PDA?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 28/7/04 7:28PM
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To nunfetishist: I'd appreciate definitions that distinguish between tablet & PDA. Advantage Six seem to have taken up the description of sub-notebook/super-PDA from our forthcoming review but those of us who have had access to the machine have been unable to give a simple description.

 is a RISC OS UserQ on 28/7/04 8:20PM
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Quite simple actually - TabletPC is basically a laptop without keyboard or mouse but has a touchscreen instead. TabletPC FAQ:


 is a RISC OS UserGulli on 28/7/04 8:48PM
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OK - so it's a tablet. But it has a keyboard as well ;-)

Did you say 'simple'?

 is a RISC OS UserQ on 28/7/04 9:10PM
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Looks another good product from STD.

I do like the comment on the website: "Non-emulated (ARM-based) modules are not available at this time"

Seems to imply that perhaps a A5 type product running RISCOS natively may be in the offering or am I reading too much into this and the STD statement about certain undertakings by Castle?

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 28/7/04 10:03PM
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And for those folks who can't wait for STD to release this to the general public... Go get your own ECS (Elitegroup) EZ-Tablet EZ30D TabletPC at:


A snip at 915 (Inc. VAT).

 is a RISC OS Useratimmins on 28/7/04 10:47PM
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Well I'm still hoping that Castle's references to PDAs (in the recent press conference and elsewhere) might lead to a native machine. There are a variety of XScale-powered PDAs out there now; these have the benefits of being both cheaper and being ARM-powered.

Here's hoping.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 28/7/04 10:51PM
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It looks nice. Not really sure I like the idea about touch screen in place of keyboard/mouse. My school issued XP Windows Pro laptop I find not nice to use it's touch pad mouse for too long, rather annoying I feel so I am getting a USB mouse for it. I also have a new JetFlash portable storage device (USB plugIn 60Mb storage about the size of a disposable cigarette lighter) with my new XP laptop, but I now have to look into getting USB fitted to my RO4. Is there RO4 software available for my JetFlash to read it if I plug it into RO4 USB port? I think the same as *Tony's* comments, and I'm hoping for a native laptop machine. Regards, Steve.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 29/7/04 12:44AM
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Hehe, the good thing about all this emulation is that you don't need to write RISC OS drivers etc for anything - it just uses the WindowsXP stuff, like being able to rotate a screen by 90 degrees, or deal with two port replicators.

Which is the same reason I doubt we'd see a Win2K/Linux/native version of this Jess.....

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 29/7/04 1:10AM
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Looks like an interesting development and potentially neat product. I wonder if the camera will be useable from the RISC OS side? (I guess I should probably read the preview to find this out!).

Also, how is the touch screen used on the RISC OS side, without the "three button" action that you'd expect? Is there a virtual keyboard (or perhaps handwriting recognition ;) )?

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 29/7/04 1:29AM
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I just hope it's not as poor as the XP tablets we got at work.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 29/7/04 9:23AM
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For Jess: Tell me the problems you have with the tablets at work and I'll see if I can check them out on the A5. I've got a little more time before our review goes to print.

 is a RISC OS UserQ on 29/7/04 11:08AM
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Slow login to domain. Unreliable wireless networking. poor plug and play on docking station. choosing portraitlandscape incorrectly. various display problems - wrong mode on start-up

OS corruption and recovery disks not working.

The hardware itself seems less unreliable than typical PC laptops.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 29/7/04 1:05PM
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"Slow login to domain."

That is not the fault of the hardware. And your other claims seem dubious as well. Maybe it is time to read the user manual?

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 29/7/04 2:50PM
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piemmm - I think Jess is faulting WinXP more than the hardware.

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 29/7/04 4:58PM
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"I think Jess is faulting WinXP more than the hardware."

Ok then, lets try again:

"Slow login to domain."

That is not the fault of the hardware, or the software. You have it setup wrong or your domain model is hopelessly wrong. And I can say this having done the MCSE track.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 29/7/04 5:07PM
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Funny how the 2000 machines are fine.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 29/7/04 5:14PM
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Yes, I am willing to make a good guess that you're using roaming profiles and when someone logs into your wired workstation on your nice fast network they get all their profile downloaded to them in seconds (the profile will include crap like documents, IE cache, etc).

Of course, on a tablet with WiFi it is a completley different kettle of fish. You have no nice fast connection.

That would be one of many factors that would make things slow, another would be the fact that WiFi networks do not let directed broadcasts through, unless in bridged mode (which is very highly unlikely), and thus if you have a multiple domain controllers (PDC, then lots of BDCs) then your poor tablet has to go find one (this is where #PRE and #DOM in lmhosts files come in handy).

Another one could be the way you have WINS configured on your network. More than likely you have all your clients setup to be simple broadcast node types (which is bad) rather than hybrid (0x8) and have a working wins server.

Anyway, thats enough of the free advice. My pizza is getting cold.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 29/7/04 7:26PM
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Some users are using roaming profiles, most aren't. Some of the tablets were used wired anyway, in docking stations. The windows 2000 laptops are on wi-fi too. Wins comment is interesting, but would surely be the same for 2K?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 29/7/04 8:15PM
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what kind of nutters use WINS anymore anyway?

In conclusion: "WinXP is crap because it's crap in my specific example"

Noone's answered the Select Menu Adjust question yet.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 29/7/04 9:16PM
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Instead putting more money in Microsofts pocket, with an emulator sticking plaster over the designed for Windows logo, STD who are a well respected hardware company should be looking to team up with parnters to take advantage of the increasing number of ARM based devices which can run RISC OS natively. Take this [link] for example, an ideal form factor and a company willing to licence its designs after nearly being put out of business by Microsoft. This is what the A5 should be, running RISC OS 5 directly with no inferior, insecure and unreliable Gatesware compromising the entire unit.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 30/7/04 10:19AM
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druck: What a bunch of bigotted, blinkered FUD.

Although I'm still waiting for a Linux version of VirtualAcorn for people who don't want to pay the Windows licence fee.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 30/7/04 11:29AM
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in reply to nunfetishist: "What a bunch of bigotted, blinkered FUD"

Why? Whilst I wouldn't presume to tell STD what products they should be developing, David's proposal, IMHO, would be far better for the RISC OS market.


 is a RISC OS UserNeilWB on 30/7/04 12:15PM
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In reply to druck:

Try reading the article again, the A5 is a "proof of concept" for a customer, not a retail product. Advantage Six (along with a number of others) have discovered that you can use VirtualRPC on pre-existing hardware to show a conecpt to a customer very quickly.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 30/7/04 1:05PM
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NeilWB: I was refering to "inferior, insecure and unreliable Gatesware"

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 30/7/04 2:10PM
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Perhaps you haven't read the preview of the A5 in RISCWorld? Worth a read:

"What is especially exciting is that Advantage 6 are considering doing a version based on an ARM processor running RISC OS natively"

Oooh, here's hoping...

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 30/7/04 6:12PM
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In reply to nunfetishist:

Oh. That had slipped by me :-(

I have to admit Windows XP is a good OS. But it's taken them a bloody long time to get there. Imagine what RISC OS might be now if Acorn were in the same position as Microsoft - that's what really irks I guess.


 is a RISC OS UserNeilWB on 30/7/04 9:19PM
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nunfetishist> But Windows is inferior (in terms of use), insecure (as are parts of it such as IE which an american security organisation (CERT) has advised people *not* to use) and unreliable (that one is from experience - and if you need further proof just go to MS's own website and look up any of the *myriad* of service packs/releases (they use the word CRITICAL and it *does* mean something after all)).

Stewy> As to Advantage6 releasing an ARM based version why are they shooting themselves in the foot by releasing a Windows based one first (surely that would *reduce* the market for their ARM based one). I suspect this is just a "throwaway" line to encourage people to buy the Windows version *now* because (in some unspecified way) it may help have an ARM based unit released.

How hum nice to see everyone is back at trying to kill off the RISC OS platform again (hey what changes then ?).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/7/04 2:43PM
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Appologies to Stuart Tyrell, there was *no* reference to the unit ever being released in ARM format (contrary to what one of the other posters said - and my response to that was consequently incorrect). The website is quite clear on that



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/07/04 2:48PM
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What's all the fuzz about?

This is "just" another PC with an RISC OS emulator. You can buy tablet PC's from the same stores that sells laptops, so what's the big deal?

In fact I find it strange that these "RISC OS companies" use such big words like "proof of concept/technology demonstrator/development platform for a customer". While they just could have told Drobe that they managed to run VirtualRPC to run on a tablet PC (which isn''t that hard anyway). I imagine that they might have written an aditional mouse-driver to use the touch screen but appart from that I fail to see the "innovation" here.

Look, I don't want to critisize STD from making a few bucks by selling yet another (of-the-shelf) WinXP-PC with a RISC OS emulator. But do they really have to brag about this? "Proof of concept/Technology demontrator", come on!



 is a RISC OS Userepdm3be on 03/08/04 05:13AM
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