Microdigital lets WROCC in on secretBy Chris Williams. Published: 6th Mar 2003, 18:31:24 | Permalink | Printable
And why they won't speak to the pressIf you were around Wakefield, North UK, last night you could have attended a Wakefield RISC OS Computer Club meeting which featured a few production 306MHz StrongARM Microdigital Omegas flanked by Microdigital's managing director Dave Atkins. We sadly were no where near the event but iconbar.com regular Phil Mellor was and he reluctantly, partially spilled the beans on what happened here (look for posts by monkeyson2). Despite admitting that some parts of the meeting were private and secret (oh the horror!), essential points Phil picked up and reported back include very fast disc access speeds, FQuake running in 640x480 at an averaged 23fps plus, fast boot up into RISC OS 4.03 and also USB isn't quite ready yet. As many people discerned at the recent South West show, Microdigital apparently have all the hardware done and are ready to ship Omega units - there's just the matter a mysterious NDAed contractual reason that needs resolving before the Yorkshire based hardware company can deliver and customers can get their mits on an Omega. And no Microdigital won't publically say what the exact problem is - that's just the way it is it seems and while that wonderfully appropiate phrase 'so close yet so far' springs to our mind, no doubt the more cynical of you might well have assumed that this is just another excuse Microdigital have had saved for last. There's one thing they'll need us to have a lot of and that's trust; we're sitting tight on this one.
As second hand knowledge is cheap, we decided to get wise and give Microdigital a call to get further information out of them and so we got talking to Dave Atkins about the Omega, Microdigital and the flow of information between his company and the press. We tried explaining to Dave that sites like drobe.co.uk attract thousands of readers every month, so why not tap that readerbase and let us know what's going on and what Microdigital are up to? Dave politely replied that Microdigital don't talk to the press and they don't do press statements, prefering the user group circuit and keeping away from shows (including Wakefield 2003). We're baffled too, it's an interesting way to sell a product, we'll have to admit however Dave explained that the more information that gets released, the more it'll get discussed and widly speculated about in various online forums with people claiming they know how stuff like the ARMTwister works, or rather in many cases, won't work. In essence, Microdigital want people to wait until the machine is finally out before passing judgement.
Speaking of ARMTwister, Dave stood firm by the company's decision to not reveal any real information on how it works purely because they wish to protect their IPR and design they've invested cash in. Business is business but of course, if you don't release details then people will be left to guess. David was also pleased when we told him that RISC OS Select was able to boot and run on an Omega, (as reported by the German Arche group), because it shows that they've been seemingly able to provide completely adequate compatibility with previous 26 bit computers. There's lots more to the Omega and eventually we'll get to see and comment on every facet when the machine actually gets into the public's hands. Until then, there's always other machines to tempt you, of course.
Despite the fact that we can't remember the last time Microdigital replied to an email, they do get out to user groups and they do answer the phone (after a few tries) and we recommend you give them a call if you want more info. It's a real eye opener, especially if you ask Dave to recall the adventure he had one time in Holland. Oh yes.
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