Alpha, Omega in the wildBy Chris Williams. Published: 13th Jul 2003, 16:00:08 | Permalink | Printable
Alpha benchmarked, Desk on the sceneThere's good news emerging this weekend concerning MicroDigital Alpha and Omega computers, the same news that the usual MicroDigital apologists have been rallying behind.
Desk, MicroDigital's European partner, published a newletter earlier this month which covers a range of interesting points. The first is a brief bragging session about how late last year MicroDigital were in talks with then owners of RISC OS Pace. However, the discussion fell apart (let's blame Pace) so MicroDigital then turned to RISCOS Ltd. (who should have been their first port of call) for a license to use RISC OS. Could this have been the reason why there were licensing problems with the Omega at the start of the year?
Desk's newsletter also comments on Castle's acquisition of RISC OS from Pace by congratulating Castle on their move. According to Iconbar.com's poll, just under a quarter of voting RISC OS users have expressed concern over what the RISC OS buyout means for other companies like MicroDigital and RISCOS Ltd. RISCOS Ltd. recently told drobe.co.uk that the "desktop market is still very much ours" and that present licenses are preserved, this includes MicroDigital's sub-license with RISCOS Ltd. This should defuse any anxiety of Castle using their ownership of RISC OS to eliminate competitors. Of course, real competition starts when we can stand a completed Omega besides an Iyonix and watch the two machines duke it out.
Desk also refered to our story on Intel's final discontinuation of the StrongARM processor, playing down non-existent fears of supply problems in getting hold of StrongARM chips for the Omega. As it happens, we didn't conclude that the production of the Omega would be affected and the article was intended to be a farewell piece. Desk also reminds us that the Omega will, at some point in time preferably before the death of our Sun, feature an XScale processor. And we're looking forward to it.
There's news that at least one end user, John McCulloch, has finally received his Alpha portable, picking it up from his dealer just before the weekend; we'll assume the portables are now properly shipping to end users. Hooray. John's also run RISCOSMark over his shiny new Alpha laptop and openly presented the results. You may know that MicroDigital's mobile RISC OS computing solution is a 2GHz Celeron laptop running WindowsXP and a copy of VirtualRPC to emulate a RiscPC.
John's benchmark results show the emulated RiscPC running on the Alpha outperforms a normal StrongARM RiscPC in the memory access and harddisc access speed tests.
Also, it's not just Alphas being reportedly delivered. MicroDigital's Scottish dealer Liquid Silicon very recently informed their customers that "Omegas and Alphas are shipping" and, wait for this, the Omega floppy drive now works. Alan Gibson, of Liquid Silicon, confirmed to us that the machines were being delivered to the public, adding that the computers were "release machines going out without caveats".
So that's end users with machines heading their way at last. End users, not hand picked beta testers. It's been said that the RISC OS media ignored the fact that MicroDigital were "shipping" Alphas and Omegas at the Expo 2003 show. If handing out 4 beta test machines at a show means that the MicroDigital machines are shipping then, to apply the same analogy, the drobe.co.uk team have stopped the greenhouse effect by not driving anywhere today.
Do drop us an email if you get your hands on a MicroDigital machine.
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