Acorn Times - From Acorns Vision to a Consumers Dream

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Acorn Times - From Acorn's Vision to a Consumer's Dream

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Printed on : 10/03/98 - 16:42

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Behind Acorn's technology Is a vision of the convergence of all types of information and entertainment services into the home. Over the next year, we will be making it possible for our partners to deliver consumer electronics products which seamlessly integrate the capabilities of the NC and Digital TV. Acorn believes it is unique in offering a complete, integ technology from chips to applications. "Because we ha own designs, our own hardware, our own operating syst and run-time systems expertise, we don't suffer the compromises at the boundaries between different areas technology that hamper companies who depend on othe says John Bedford, Acorn's Vice President of Future Technologies. "This allows us to provide our customers reduced time-to-market and cost advantages: either bett functionality and smaller size for the same price or the functionality at a lower price." ARM processors offer high performance at a fraction of the cost of PC processors. "With the 7500FE, designed for Internet appliances, we integrated everything you need to build an NC - processor, memory controller, graphics system, i/o - on a single chip, for around $25," says Redford. "The SA1500 and SA1501, designed jointly by Acorn, ARM and Digital Semiconductors, will do for StrongARM what the 7500FE did for ARM 7, by integrating all the peripherals around the CPU. This will deliver the same high performance, while dramatically cutting the overall system cost." An attached media co-processor will perform tasks such as MPEG2 decode or video conferencing in software. "A typical next generation product would use the SA1500 with a digital TV satellite feed, plus a modem. This would offer standard broadcast digital TV reception, plus interactivity features enabling viewers to jump straight from an advertisement to a Web site and buy a product, or to look up listings and in-depth information about films they are about to see. Such a product would also allow users to download and play 3D games, browse the Internet, and use Internet telephony to make long-distance calls at local rates. There would be enough CPU performance for video telephony, with the addition of a low-cost camera. All in a single box, at a price point not much more than for a dumb digital TV decoder now." Such a device will benefit from a new kind of operating system, capable of guaranteeing the Quality of Service (QoS) needed for video and audio, and also able to insulate multiple concurrent applications from one another. Without QoS, the arrival of an email during a film might cause frames to be lost; without protection between applications, a game could crash and take the rest of the system down with it. 10/03/98 16:41 Acom: Acom times - From Acom's vision to a consumer's dream Acorn is working on a QoS operating system specifically for this kind of device. Each application will be guaranteed not just the CPU performance but the memory and network bandwidth it needs. The goal is a resilient, fine-grained, modular multimedia operating system that will provide full protection between applications. The QoS project is a long-term endeavour, although Acorn will deliver subsets of the functionality as they become available. In addition, RISC OS will continue to be developed and enhanced. Meanwhile, the roll-out of NC products will continue. During 1998, we will deliver the NC2, the multimedia NC based on the SA1500, and a very low-cost NC-based email terminal. We will, for example continue our support for different types of networking including ATM, ISDN, modems and Ethernet. Our 33kbps modems are approved in many countries; they will soon be joined by 56kbps versions. All these diverse strands are united by our vision of convergence. Wherever low-cost, interactive, networked multimedia is to be found, so is Acorn technology. Acorn technology is at the heart of consumer electronics.

Date : 10th March 1998

Creator : Acorn Computers

Format : PDF Only

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH52893. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
Article: Acorn Times - From Acorns Vision to a Consumers Dream

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