Following the recent Archive sampler, with its news of a new computer running RISC OS natively that might be unveiled at the South West Show on Saturday, R-Comp Interactive have issued a press release about this new machine, which now has a name; ARMini. Here’s what they had to say:
Running RISC OS… natively!
R-Comp Interactive, in partnership with a group of RISC OS companies and enthusiasts, is proud to announce the ARMini computer. Powered by the latest ARM Cortex A8 architecture, and running a modern RISC OS operating system, we hope that this new system will excite anyone looking for a next generation pure-ARM RISC OS computer system.
Whilst we have long offered our high-performance RISCube range of computers, and RISCBook range of laptops, this is the first time we have been able to offer a RISC OS computer running on a native ARM CPU. For many, this is a matter of principal – their computer must be powered by a “real” ARM-derived CPU – of course, ARM themselves dont actually manufacture anything, but you get the idea! With existing ARM-powered RISC OS computers going out of production, there is a hole in the market which we hope the ARMini can fill, complementing our other range of systems.
The new computer typically runs software 50-100% faster (ie. up to twice as fast) as existing pure-ARM solutions, thanks to a faster processor with improved architecture. This is backed up by an array of USB 2 ports, and high speed networking. Internal storage is available in various forms – flash, solid state or conventional drives can be attached, and there is removable storage (SD and MS card readers) too. For graphics, both DVI and HDMI are supported for digital connection to modern LCD monitors and TVs. This ensures a better quality of picture – sharper and crisper than the VGA analogue output seen previously on ARM-powered machines.
At the time of writing, we are working with both RISC OS Open Ltd and RISCOS Ltd, to try and ensure that the system is well supported across the board. Additionally, we are working with the various RISC OS software companies to ensure software availability/compatibility.
However, it is important to be realistic. This machine is not a direct replacement for a RiscPC or even Iyonix, and we dont want people ordering/buying with that in mind. Whilst most modern RISC OS applications (Ovation Pro, Techwriter, Artworks, DataPower, Messenger Pro, NetFetch, NetSurf, Photodesk and so on) should work fine, some software will need updating and old RiscPC era apps will not work. If this is likely to be an issue for you, we’d suggest you look at our RISCube/RISCBook range, which can run a broader range of RISC OS (and Windows, for that matter) software. However, if you are primarily interested in modern RISC OS apps, programming or networking, we think you’ll find the ARMini an excellent machine, at a fair price.
We will be demonstrating the computer at the SW show this weekend, and you are welcome to bring software along on SD card or USB-drive if you’d like to test your own code. We have most of the parts in stock for the first batch, but some are “in transit”, and software hasn’t been finalised yet. However, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the system on display at the show, and see that we should be ready to go soon
We’ve registered the armini.co.uk domain, but haven’t yet had an opportunity to sort out a website (the name was only settled upon this week!). We’ll update people as and when things are finalised.
We don’t normally do deposits or pre-order promotions, but in this case it would be helpful to gauge quantities etc. We’ll be doing a pre-order/deposit scheme, but your deposit will be tied to actual hardware, so that if anything goes wrong, you won’t lose out. We’re also looking at giving early adopters some additional perks, a bit like “collectors editions” in other media. Hopefully we’ll have more info on this at the show.
All I can really add to this is that I will definitely be paying the R-Comp stand a visit on Saturday.