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Castle move to Cambridge rumoured

By Chris Williams. Published: 1st Dec 2005, 18:17:05 | Permalink | Printable

Speculation knows no bounds

Castle and Iyonix logoSpeculation is growing over the future of Castle and the restructuring the company is considering following the closure of its Tematic division. It is claimed by sources that the Iyonix manufacturer is in the process of moving from its Framlingham base to a location in Cambridge.

Punters at the Guildford show observed that the Castle stand was manned by bosses Jack Lillingston and John Ballance, with support staff Will Ling and Stacey Scruby noticeably absent. The company is exhibiting at all three venues in this month's road show while Will Ling is believed to be working on a separate project.

In his editorial for this month's issue of RiscWorld, Aaron Timbrell said, "Nothing has been seen or heard of Will Ling for some time, and Stacey was absent from the recent Guildford show. I have heard two different explanations for this, firstly that she was ill and secondly that she was pregnant."

Aaron also speculated that some of the the ex-Tematic staff have formed their own consultancy company, while at least one is believed to have joined Ant Ltd.

Discussing the changes at Castle, he added: "Let's hope that CTL are able to weather the storm. History indicates that they will, as the company has an excellent track record of surviving periods of instability. I just wonder what impact all of the changes might have on any planned future projects, such as an Iyonix II?"

The 38-year-old RISCOS Ltd director, who also manages the VirtualAcorn brand and is away from the VA office until Monday, drew attention to the recent claim by R-Comp that under a thousand Iyonixes had been sold to date. At the RISC OS 5 computer's launch in November 2002, the Castle team reportedly said they wanted to sell 500 units by Christmas, but on the machine's first anniversary, the company said the Iyonix had "beaten all of our expectations".

Castle were unavailable for comment.

Update at 11:59 2/12/2005
The accuracy of the 600-1000 figure for the number of Iyonixes sold to date has been disputed. The Aemulor team, who lock their software down to each Iyonix using the machines' network chip MAC address, say the range of addresses provided to them from users would appear to exceed 1000. Also, a number of Iyonix products, including the entry level system and the DIY kits, are shipped without bundled software - which could result in a figure much greater than 600.

Links

Castle website

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Discussion

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I have no inside information on this but I do suggest it might be a 'wake-up' call to anyone dithering about buying an Iyonix: Do something to help Castle's cash-flow (that means buy one if you can afford it, BTW).

There was a lot of negative feeling about Iyonix when it was launched yet you don't need to go far back in time to find a wish-list for a new RO computer (eg 32-bit modern CPU, USB, better graphics, fast bus/disc) that Iyonix met almost completely. It has delivered, it is here, I couldn't personally go back to a RPC.

I don't know if Castle are struggling - it doesn't really matter: more sales will inevitably help them. As for waiting for Iyonix 2, I frankly doubt it is imminent and it won't happen at all if Castle isn't healthy!

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 1/12/05 7:02PM
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Aaron, who as VA is an indirect competitor of Castle should no better than use his position as editor to spread rumours.

I'm surprised he didn't go the whole hog and claim that as well as moving to Cambridge, they are changing their name to Acorn before selling all their assets on e-bay.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 1/12/05 7:19PM
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In reply to Druck:

I wasn't aware that Castle were moving to Cambridge and my editorial certainly doesn't say so. I also think you are confused it's me that's being selling some spare bits and bobs on ebay.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 1/12/05 8:31PM
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It seems /extremely/ unlikely that such a low number of Iyonix computers have been sold. I visited their Framlingham offices a year or two ago to part-exchange a stack of second-hand RiscPCs for an Iyonix, and they had at least 40 machines in the process of being tested and shipped out. They only have to keep that up for two weeks to shift over 500 units!

And in reply to Tony Still: I don't remember any such negative feeling when the Iyonix was first announced. I seem to recall that we were all delighted that a computer would actually /appear/, as at the time we were still waiting for the mythical Omega.

Anyway ... to sum up: I love my Iyonix, and I recommend them to any RISC OS fanatic.

 is a RISC OS Userkrisa on 2/12/05 7:54AM
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I would also argue there are many more than 1000 IYONIX out there - subtracting the last MAC address from the first in our software database confirms this!

Cheers,

/Neil/

 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 2/12/05 10:33AM
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Even 3 years after its launch, the Iyonix is a really nice machine to buy and own ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 2/12/05 1:10PM
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I just wish I could afford one! would be really nice to upgrade! Good luck to Castle!

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 2/12/05 1:32PM
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Best decision I made - for someone who needs to use a computer and a range of applications - a great buy! I have a SA Risc PC and a Compaq lap top on my desk - I just wish I had an Iyonix... school budgets being what they are!

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 2/12/05 4:29PM
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I echo everything that everyone has said here about the Iyonix. I ummmmed and arrrred about getting one for ages. In the end my only mistake was being so indecisive; I regretted not buying one straight away.

I have no doubt the A9Home is going to be a great little machine too, but without the Iyonix I'm not sure RISC OS would ever have got to the stage it has now.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 2/12/05 7:46PM
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They have just sent out an email announcing a return to discounts on monitors when bought with Iyonix.

They generally choose some very good monitors....

MArk

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 2/12/05 8:12PM
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Like flypig, I dithered a long time about buying an iyonix. I finally took the plunge in July and have no regrets whatsoever. Previously I was using a Select 4.37 Viewfinder Kineitc - the iyo is more stable, runs all the legacy s/ware thanks to Aemulor Pro, and is either faster or /much/ faster. I miss some Select features, particularly the wastebin, but to be honest I haven't really noticed the difference - its still Risc OS, after all. I'm sorry I didn't take the plunge sooner.

George

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 3/12/05 12:34PM
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I on the other hand didn't dither at all. I bought my Iyonix at the first possible opportunity, the 2002 Midlands Show, and have never regretted it. I had been waiting since the demise of Acorn for a badly needed new machine new machine, and mt Phoebe fund was still available when Iyonix appeared. All I need now is a native RISC OS laptop (sigh). If, for example, the A9 Hone was packagesdas a laptop (they could call it the A9 Away) I would ceertainly buy one.

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 3/12/05 3:01PM
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flypig: You're right about needing the Iyonix when it first apeared - and the RiscStation before that. Both came onto the scene when there were worries about the appearance of new RISC OS machines. The A9 is fulfilling that role now. As long as we all appreciate the due importance of all companies and machines we should be able to look forward to the next RISC OS computer after the A9.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 4/12/05 2:07AM
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jc>Funny you left out that other machine you once much promoted (the Omega) ;)

The Iyonix contrary to what you seem to infer is *still* needed as the A9 can't be exactly described as a "desktop" computer can it? Quite apart from its somewhat "beta" state (the problems you are aware of such as the SCL issue). And the A9's *very limited* expansion capabilities (e.g., no internal expansion, one internal IDE device, slow USB 1.1, no ability to handle multiple monitors, can't burn C/DVD's).

A9 has it's niche as a small computing device - and in embedded environments (once it is commercially released) it should excel at that. As a desktop computer sadly it does not (and cannot) pass muster (IMHO). Simply "wishing" the Iyonix will go away - if that's what you're at - is quite unhelpful.

As a more general comment I think it's rather ironic that the above article (which quotes a compeditor of castle saying that he "hopes they weather the storm" - sowing seeds of doubt eh ?) preceeds an update that quite comprehensively calls into question a previous "Castle rubbishing" article from drobe. Hope we don't have to wait too long for the inevitable "update" clarifying the current article.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 4/12/05 6:18PM
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In reply to AMS: At no point in the above posting did JC state the Iyonix was not needed. Yes the Iyonix is still needed and has a role to fill. Just as the A9 is also needed and has a role to file. One can be greatly expanded, whilst the other is dimentionally challenged. But both machine make a big statement.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 4/12/05 7:02PM
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I will buy either:

* An A9 once completed. or * An Iyonix if it had RO select.

I have the cash now but whilst there are two forks in the OS tree I'll live with the hardware and OS I have (thats the latest version 4 variety that has different features to the latest version 5 variety........mad.......)

I doubt I am alone.

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 5/12/05 9:11AM
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mripley: Is Select that much better than RO5 that it's the whole deciding factor in whether or not you buy a new machine?

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 5/12/05 10:10AM
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Something you pay a lot of money for becomes valueable and you don't want to throw it away for a OS that comes with the machine and free updates.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 5/12/05 12:49PM
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The present form factor of the A9 need not be the only one. I imagine that once the machine is out of beta and on general sale we might well see other, more expandable, cases marketed by someone.

I doubt that the price of such will be very different from the price of Iyonix - particularly if Castle have some slack in the price to be able to drop it a little.

Adjust on 400Mhz

versus

RO5 on 600Mhz

same price?

Maybe that's why Select is bot coming so fast for Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 5/12/05 2:18PM
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Story makes no sense drobe should check their facts. The staff quit because they hadn't been paid and moving to Cambridge sounds expensive. So which is it? Or made up story and Castle bashing?

 is a RISC OS Userbillball on 5/12/05 3:17PM
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billball: What about your facts? Where's your story that the staff hadn't been paid and quit come from?

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 5/12/05 3:33PM
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SimonC:

I think billball was summing up an interpretation of the news item and saying it did not make sense....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 5/12/05 6:06PM
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SimonC>" Is Select that much better than RO5 that it's the whole deciding factor in whether or not you buy a new machine?"

I wouldn't think so - but that's up to the purchaser. Some seem quite happy to do without a proper modern RISC OS computer in order to wait for select - so best people to ask is them !

cynic>"The present form factor of the A9 need not be the only one. I imagine that once the machine is out of beta and on general sale we might well see other, more expandable, cases marketed by someone."

True. But changing the case won't allow it to take 4 IDE devices (the motherboard doesn't support it, you might squeeze in a slave device on it's primary IDE - but that's it). It won't make the A9 do USB 2. It won't allow it to take more than 128MB of RAM. It also does not have any on board expansion bus. The only *plus* side is that you *would* be able to fit a 3.5inch HDD - these are generally faster than the smaller laptop type drives that the A9 currently uses. The downside is you'd lose the only advantage the A9 has - it's small size.

If Ad6 wished to take on Iyonix they'd have to do a whole board redesign and then it wouldn't be the A9 anymore would it? They may get around to this eventually but - please - give the guys a chance to get one model out the door first eh ?

billball> To be fair to Drobe, Chris has put up another page which seems to describe the situation in a fair manner without the needless "commentary" from a compeditor of castle's - so as such the second piece does address your concerns.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/12/05 7:09PM
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In reply to mripley: I understand your concern about the fork in the OS and it saddens me too.

However, I also think that it's rather less significant to a purchasing decision. Until (unless?) the rift is healed, software authors are likely to write for that part of the OS that is common to the two forks. Since both RO 4/Select and RO 5 were developments of RO 3.8 (ie the Phoebe OS), that is not too much of a sacrifice. The most important features are in both of these. In fact, most authors actually settle for something closed to RO 3.7 because of all those non-upgraded RPCs out there.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 5/12/05 10:01PM
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