Omegas, Alphas in users' hands?By Chris Williams. Published: 22nd Jun 2003, 13:40:22 | Permalink | Printable
Sharing candy in Holland [Updated 9:50 23/06/2003]Expo 2003 We've received a number of reports that MicroDigital have handed over a small number of Omega and Alpha computers to end users during yesterday's RISC OS Expo 2003 in Holland.
According to Bastian Moritz, during MicroDigital's theatre presentation, two Omegas and two Alphas were passed over to end users on the condition that they are aware of various technicalities and provide feedback. Products suitable for end users (that is, ones with working USB, networking and video) have no specific shipping date.
Henk Huinen, producer of artwork for MicroDigital and many other RISC OS related organisations, also confirmed that "the first Omegas and Alpha notebooks were delivered yesterday during the Expo".
In the thick of numerous searching questions put to MicroDigital during their presentation, it's reported that MicroDigital blamed the Press for misrepesenting shipping dates and not understanding their closed technologies like ARMTwister. We're confident that MicroDigital stated around Decemeber last year that Omegas would be with deposit holders in time for Christmas and so it seems, did a lot of punters present at the show. MicroDigital have conveniently deleted and 404ed all reference to shipping promises and their ARMTwister technology from their website.
We've also been informed that during MicroDigital's public presentation, managing director Dave Atkins commented that they'd say more if the press were not present. Archive magazine editor Paul Beverley and others then reportedly left the floor.
And the reaction from the crowd?
"The show itself didn't [bring] any surprises other than the 'handing out' of the Omegas and the Alphas", one show visitor has told us. "MicroDigital showed their new upgraded Alpha and it was interesting to see the improvement. It was much faster than the "Wakefield" model, which was also on display.
"They seem to have overcome the 2D graphics problem. Dragging a window across the screen didn't seem to be a problem in high resolution on a 19 inch flat [screen] panel.
"David Atkins also said that using a Samsung 1.2GHz [processor] is not an option at the moment. Not by choice but because of lack of interest from Samsung to deliver. But he also stated that when Samsung can/will deliver, they will certainly have a look at the Samsung processor."
Update [Peter Naulls]
I didn't attend the MicroDigital talk myself, being busy on my own stand. However, I did talk to a number of people who were present, and the upshot was that it was very much an own goal for MicroDigital. Here's a recap:
As has been said, David Aktins criticized the actions of the press, at which point Paul Beverly offered and proceeded to leave, despite representatives of two other RISC OS publications (not drobe) remaining. This started a steady exodus of people leaving the talk.
David was challenged on various technical points by a Xilinx engineer, and also over shipping dates by a representative of a Dutch company who had been promised a large quantity of machines in January. This deteriorated into almost a shouting match.
It's also been noted that "non-removable drives are PIO only". To tranlsate, this means that harddisks do not yet have UDMA. I'll leave you to work out the irony with this in relation to Iyonix.
A few machines were handed out to "those best able to report on problems". David claimed this meant that "machines were now shipping". I can't agree on this at all. It's great that they're finally getting a few machines to developers (or dealers), but that's all it is - identical to what Castle did with Iyonix when 20 or so machines were given to developers a few months before the the actual launch. If Castle had claimed they were shipping back in September 2002, they would quite rightly been laughed at.
As for the rest of the show? There wasn't anything in particular to report on - we hadn't expected any big product annoucements. There were a variety of user groups demonstrating various hardware applications, including a robotic arm. I had a second machine on my stand running X Windows under Linux on an Iyonix, and Castle were demonstrating their USB mass storage.
We'll have some photos up shortly.
RISC OS Expo 2003
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