Will Wakefield 2009 see a new graphics card for RISC OS?Published: 4th Apr 2009, 17:44:45 | Permalink | Printable
Speculation is mounting that the Vpod, a mysterious new product pre-announced this week, could be a graphics card on a podule for RiscPC-class machines. Well-placed sources have said that the Vpod is not an April Fools joke despite it being hyped up on April 1st by Stuart Tyrrell Developments, which sells the Unipod upgrade and is linked with A9home manufacturer Advantage Six.It is believed the Vpod could be a Unipod with on-board video RAM and graphics processor - presumably similar to the SM501 video chip used in the A9home, for which RISC OS drivers exist. It is hoped the chosen GPU will feature hardware accelerations that can be used by the OS to speed up drawing to the screen and also handle desktop resolutions much greater than those provided by the RiscPC's aging built-in graphics hardware. The Unipod went on sale in 2004 as an upgrade for RiscPCs that featured USB ports, a 100MBit ethernet network port and a fast IDE interface for hard discs and other devices.
According to STD's cryptic announcement, its new product will be unveiled at this year's Wakefield 2009 show, to be held later on April 25.
One trusted source told Drobe.co.uk: "No one is allowed to talk about it, it's hush-hush until the Wakefield launch. It is a podule and the clue is in the name. Unipod was so named because it features USB (u), networking (n) and an IDE interface (i), all in one, so where would that leave you with a Vpod?"
Another contact, close to AdvantageSix's partner RISCOS Ltd, added: "A combined video card and Unipod idea has been on the cards for a good few years, certainly since 2005. The software to drive such a device exists and using the podule bus won't result in as much of a performance hit as you'd expect. The biggest contention for direct access to the computer's memory from the device will be between the USB and the network interface as the graphics chip will have its own on-board memory."
Other rumours doing the rounds include speculation that the V in Vpod stands for voice, suggesting it will be an upgrade that possibly provides VoIP functionality.
However, the video card theory is somewhat confirmed in STD's pre-announcement of the Vpod, which includes the following passage: "We expect [the Vpods] to ripen by the 25th of April and to have a bountiful crop in time to produce stunning displays at the Wakefield RISC OS show. So come along and share our vivid Vpod vision."
Qercus editor John Cartmell said: "As far as I can recall STD's spoof announcements generally turn out to be real. Could this be new hardware? Wakefield could be most interesting."
A spokesman for STD was not available for comment.
Stuart Tyrrell Developments website
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