Portrait monitor support for A9homeBy Chris Williams. Published: 14th Jun 2005, 10:38:21 | Permalink | Printable
First A9home specific applicationThe pair of developers known as the SIMON team have released their first commercial application for the A9home. Published by AdvantageSix, HeadTurner is a software driver that enables users to switch to portrait screenmodes with monitors that can be arranged in wide and tall positions - as seen with Geminus and the PCI graphics card in the Iyonix.
The SIMON team is apparently named after the Silicon Motion SM501 graphics chip used in the A9home and they first appeared on the scene shortly before the Guildford show in 2004. Whilst working on the secretly guarded A9 during its development, the programmers also utilised the graphics hardware in the AGP card used in the Viewfinder to accelerate drawfile rendering.
Matt Edgar of AdvantageSix told us last night that all the team's work is related, despite the differences in the Viewfinder's ATI card and the A9home's Silicon Motion chipsets. He said, "The hardware abstraction in RISC OS 4 is very valuable. It benefits everything in the long run."
The major difference between the Nvidia PCI card in the Iyonix and the embedded chipset in the A9home, is that the datasheets and programming details for the SM501 are available for anyone, making it more likely that the full potential of the chipset can be used - from 2D acceleration to support in hardware for DVD playback.
RISCOS Ltd.'s Paul Middleton added in the HeadTurner announcement, "The future power of RISC OS is very dependant on harnessing the rapidly evolving capabilities of graphics hardware. Partnerships between developers in the RISC OS world to accomplish this are echoing those between ARM and graphics hardware in the wider world."
The A9home is currently nearing the end of development and is available only to third party developers who wish to beta test the product. According to Matt, Ad6 wants to keep the number of people with a machine to a manageable number in case someone discovers a hardware bug and the units have to be recalled for a fix: recalling hundreds of machines this early would prove costly.
The A9home with HeadTurner will be demonstrated tomorrow evening at the RONWUG usergroup.
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