32bit Adjust on ARM9 breakthroughBy Chris Williams. Published: 8th Oct 2004, 15:00:09 | Permalink | Printable
This is not a drill [Updated]Advantage Six has announced the A9 - an ARM9 powered computer that runs a 32bit version of 'Embedded RISC OS Adjust'. The A9 press release is light on the details, so we're awaiting a fuller specification and expected shipping dates, although we're told that a retail version will be made available at some point.
Earlier this week, RISCOS Ltd. confirmed the development of a 32bit RISC OS Select. Previously, RISC OS 4 could only run natively on ARM processors that provided a 26bit program counter, and as modern CPU cores provide only 32bit program counters, the OS would need to be made 32bit compatible in order to survive.
The ARM9 processor family used by the A9 tends to run between 180 and 250MHz, and basically focuses on being high performance embedded cores, rather than desktop brutes. The main point here is that RISC OS together with a hardware partner has found a new processor and solution space to leverage itself onto. Going by their announcement today, we're assuming they want to move into 'industrial control'.
What we do know is that the A9 will be available as a rack mountable version and also, interestingly, in a wall mountable version with a flatscreen and mobile communications capabilities. We also know that Advantage Six, better known as STD to RISC OS users, are using the RISC OS friendly user environment and BASIC language to sell the system to engineers in need of rapid solution development.
As to the difference between Embedded RISC OS and desktop RISC OS, Ad6 explain: "Embedded versions of RISC OS 4 have exactly the same potential features as the full desktop versions but leave the choice of which features are to be included to the manufacturer, dependant on the end application and target cost."
Stop press at 14:51 8/10/2004
Matt Edgar of STD tells us that as for what ARM9 processor they'll use: "We have a range available to us and will, in conjuction with the OEMs decide on the most suitable for their particular requirement. This is why we have a range of processors/boards available. Some of which are very capable. We have identified a number of initial market areas that we are concentrating on but expect to expand rapidly into others as we demonstrate that we can deliver (reference customers are an important part of this). Obviously details beyond what is in the press release are commercially sensitive."
Also, expected OEM prices for "reasonable quantities" are 400 to 1500GBP. Sample units of the machine are available now, and finalised units will ship depending on the OEMs' requirements, we're told.
Update at 19:43 8/10/2004
drobe.co.uk was able to speak to Castle this evening, and we were able to get their opinion of events. "It's fantastic news", said Castle director Jack Lillingston, "we're always keen to see new RISC OS products in the marketplace". Castle reaffirmed their support and enthusiasm for all things RISC OS, noting that they're keen to see as much deployment of RISC OS as possible, as such things ultimately help RISC OS users and Castle themselves. The 32-bit Adjust developments are of course between ROL and STD, and do not directly involve RISC OS 5 technology or Castle.
Speaking on the matter of the relationship between Castle and RISCOS Ltd, Jack spoke highly of the progress being made with Paul Middleton over the negotiations between RISC OS 5 and Select, stating that the agreement was "99% complete", and that we should expect a joint announcement in the next while.
A9 press release
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