Will new ARM mobile platform boost RISC OS?Published: 14th Oct 2007, 23:38:37 | Permalink | Printable
Firefox and plugins aimed at low-power ultra-portable gadgetsARM has launched a new project to bring Mozilla Firefox and a bevy of browser plugins to next-generation hand-held gadgets - and has teamed up with a gang of chip manufacturers and GNU/Linux developers to make it happen. The project could benefit the RISC OS platform if the work, expected to be released under an open source licence, can be smoothly ported from ARM Linux.
Chip design outfit ARM and its partners hope to bring a mobile version of the Gnome desktop, the Firefox web browser and various plugins to the latest ARM-powered gadgets. So-called ultra-mobile devices, such as the one pictured, are expected to soar in popularity, and ARM wants to have Internet and multimedia software ready for them. The project's source code could be released as early as January, allowing RISC OS developers to get their hands on the blueprints.
As the applications are aimed at embedded devices where processing power and memory are scare resources, they could be suitable for RISC OS computers. Separate to this latest project, Nokia has already ported Mozilla and a Flash 9 player to its N800 Internet tablet, which is powered by a 320MHz ARM11-based Texas Instruments OMAP2420 processor. This chip includes math and graphics coprocessors.
Nokia, ARM and Adobe are still trying to work out how to distribute the ARM Flash port to a wider range of users. If Flash-compatible players and similar plugins are made available through ARM's latest project, they could be ported to RISC OS.
ARM's 'Linux Mobile Computing Platform' is said to have come about after Intel claimed the ARM architecture was too weak to meet consumers' demands for modern multimedia playback.
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