New Computers

by Eric Schwartz
AmiTech-Dayton Gazette, October 2006

I thought I'd try something a little different this month...writing about computer-related news and information. I'm doing this mostly because there actually is a little bit of new information out there, which hasn't happened in a while. In this case, the news is about various new hardware that MIGHT (not necessarily will) run Amiga OS or MrophOS. In a recent interview, Bill McEwen gave his usual "things are gonna be great" message, but there were some hints about possible new hardware to run Amiga OS4 (or 5). Unfortunately, the hardware shown is not really an improvement on the Amiga One models, or the Pegasos 2. It's likely the hardware was designed for simple embedded applications and the like, but not necessarily a workstation.

Another interesting piece of hardware is Bplans's EFIKA board, which does not have particularly impressive specs either compared to a Pegasos 2, but the whole system is concentrated into a tiny board, with most of it on a single chip. The EFIKA system was shown running MorphOS 1.5 at a recent computer show, though it likely won't be bundled with it. Some people are jumping the gun a talking about it like it's replacing the Pegasos, but that doesn't appear to be the intent. The EFIKA is undoubtedly meant for those who need one, or several, medium-capability systems where minimal size and power consumption is advantageous. If MorphOS was available for it, and the price was right, I would be more than interested in a tiny EFIKA-based system.

Also of note relative to this news is the impression that MorphOS 1.5 may be on the way, possibly as early as the holidays. It appears that this OS upgrade will have to be bought, but that shouldn't be an issue, as long as the price is not too far out of line with the gains.

Finally, work is progressing on something called "Clone," a clone of the Amiga chipset on a single chip, similar to the Atari and Commodore 8-bit setups that have come before. I'm watching this project pretty eagerly, even though I'm not sure what the plans are for it once it's finished. It could potentially be anything from another plug-into-the-TV game joysticks to a full system in a small package, albeit based on an A500 spec. It's a bit much at this point to expect the equivalent of my A4000 with a 68060 in that form yet, but I can always keep hoping, and keeping an eye on the project. I think maybe I'm just waiting to have a Pegasos, and a "classic" Amiga, all scaled down to a minimal form-factor, so my Mac Mini can't claim technical superiority simply because it rides around in a silver cookie box.