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Acorn Looks to the Stars With New Galileo Operating System

February 10, 1997

Open operating system designed to meet astronomic growth in consumer electronic appliances in the next millennium

In the US today, Acorn (London Stock Exchange:GB0000061167) revealed details of its forthcoming next generation operating system. Code-named Galileo, the new 'consumer device' operating system has been designed to run on a range of RISC and CISC processors and introduces what is a new and highly innovative concept in this type of operating system - a guaranteed quality of service. The development of the system is underway and it is planned that early versions for current Acorn customers will be distributed in the second half of 1997.

The new operating system will run alongside Acorn's existing operating system base which is already licensed for use with products such as Internet Appliances, Set Top Boxes, Network Computers, desktop platforms, games systems and digital cameras. Galileo will be available to current and future RISC OS licensees.

The new, innovative quality of service concept guarantees each process the resources (CPU, memory, etc.) they require to ensure reliable operation, regardless of the behaviour of other processes in the system. Once allocated, this service level cannot be interrupted without specific intervention.

Peter Bondar, Divisional Director of Acorn comments: "The new operating system will be another major step forward for Acorn as we continue to set precedents, bringing innovative designs to manufacturers of a wide range of digital products. We are already leading the field in providing high functionality, cost effective designs to a growing number of manufacturers around the world and I expect this to increase over the next few years. The challenge is already on for consumer electronics designers to increase functionality, whilst keeping costs and memory footprints as low as possible and Galileo will be a key element in achieving this. An example of this includes our anti-twitter software which provides very high quality, stable screen display for TV based applications where other manufacturers require hardware."

New families of devices

Galileo can be used across multiple devices from multimedia aware mobile phones to digital interactive set-top boxes. This will allow manufacturers and solution providers to produce compatible families‘ of devices using the same core operating system at substantially reduced cost both in development time and support.

Release schedule

Initial releases will provide an introduction to the innovative modular real time kernel. This will be followed by a series of middle-ware releases and then a series of communications applications including web-browsers, email, news-readers, pagers, fax together with applications allowing direct interaction with a range of consumer devices e.g. TVs, DVD players, digital cameras and PDAs.

Technical notes to editors

Defined quality of service

Galileo's 'quality of service concept' guarantees that the OS will handle software tasks, such as video compression and decompression that would otherwise require additional hardware. It ensures that each operating system task is always allocated an appropriate level of response. Galileo is able to handle multiple processing threads, each requiring different levels of service from the system. Tasks such as video and audio streaming, as well as the normal system management tasks, such as saving and printing, can carry on within a guaranteed resource commitment.

Runtime modularity

The Galileo system is highly modular, being composed of many small sharable code modules each with strongly typed interfaces between them. The system can be configured at either build time or dynamically at run time. This supports systems with any mix of ROM, Acorn flashDisplayTM and RAM and ensures longevity of any system deployed as updates can be reliably made in the field over networks.

Small size

The Galileo operating system is ideally suited to semi-embedded systems where small code and data size and yet rich functionality are required, together with the ability to load applications and to extend the functionality beyond that provided at build time.

Rich graphics, coder and network support

The Galileo system provides excellent support for graphics of all forms including anti-aliased outline 16bit fonts, postscript style drawing primitives, and 3D support. Comprehensive support is provided for commonly used audio and video coders used on the internet and in video conferencing systems. The network support is also crucial to the system with support for all relevant IP protocols and physical devices including modem, Ethernet, ISDN and ATM.

About Acorn:

Acorn Computer Group plc, head-quartered in Cambridge, UK, is one of the world's leading developers and suppliers of innovative technology designs and consultancy. Acorn is at the core of some of the world's best digital technology products.

For further press information please contact:

Acorn:

In Europe:

Holly James/Michelle Carney
Text 100 Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)181 242 4181/4104
hollyj@text100.co.uk

Julie Plimpton
Text 100 Corp
Tel: +206 443 8004
juliep@text100.com

In Asia

James Byrne
MP Technology Inc, Japan
Tel: +81 3 3358 9800
byrne@mptech.co.jp

Sam Kim
ConhanCo Ltd, Korea
Tel: +82 2 3444 2328
samuelk@chollian.dacom.co.kr

Information issued on behalf of:

Kevin Coleman,
Acorn Computer Group plc
Tel: +44 (0)1223 725005
kcoleman@acorn.co.uk

The above is a Press release from Acorn, and is Copyright 1996 Acorn Computer Group plc.

poppy@poppyfields.net