TOP SECRET processor
2.1Gb Firewire Hard Drive
4.7Gb double sided Firewire DVD-ROM
Up to 1924 x 1280, 75hz @ scan 15KHz - 64KHz and
3D with 400 Million pixels/s, up to 8 million triangles/s
Fully AC-3 compatible surround, stereo 24 bit up to 96KHz
Scart, composite, SVGA, Audio in/out, firewire, USB, ECP
Parallel,serial, phone with 56k modem and ADSL
In September 1998 CU Amiga Magazine in its penultimate edition speculated on what the new Amiga would look like. Its design
is remarkably similar to the Walker- black in colour with a moulded floppy drive and inset power lights, aimed it is believed
at the set-top box market, complete with LCD display but doing its best not to look like a computer.
In April 1999, The Gateway subsidiary, Amiga Inc, announced that the next generation of the Amiga was scheduled to appear
during the 4th quarter of 1999, and would be quite unlike any other Amiga to date, although exact details weren't available.
Questions such as "What will the processor be?" , "How fast will it run?" and "Will it run existing
Amiga programs?", never got answered, but let's look at some of the options.
- First off, an announcement was made that the new Operating System would be based on top of the QNX nutrino, and since
QNX ran on virtually every processors, and could easily be modified or rewritten to suit new processors as they are
developed this kept the options open. Applications written specifically for the new OS would be written for the
environment utilising the functions of the OS and QNX which means that assembler language programs (which need to be
written in the language of the processor) would be discouraged (or even forbidden).The Next Generation Amiga could even
be based on a number of processors.
- The above development was chopped by Amiga Inc in July 1999 when they announced they would use Linux as the base OS and
build their own GUI interface on top of that. The reason being that Linux already had a considerable following and device
drivers were readily available, unlike the QNX option. This led to all kinds of speculation about the direction Amiga Inc
were taking, including numerous references to Transmeta, and the mixed messages were becoming very confusing. In the end
Amiga Inc announced they would stop making announcements and disappeared into a black hole, reappearing a short time
later to announce that they had fired most of those involved in the project. So the speculation continued unabated, and
morale crumbled away (yet again).
- Even if the processor wasn't known, as far as processor speed went, it didn't really matter, because it would probably
be possible to upgrade the processor at any time depending on cost and availability. The motherboards, which specify
the bus speed (i.e. the speed at which data can be moved around internally) would be considerably faster than anything
the Amiga, or any other personal computer for that matter, had previously. (Numerous references were made to being
able to process three HDTV signals over the bus simultaneously. HDTV at that time was a new TV standard which was being
developed utilising approximately 1000 lines compared to the current 625 lines on a conventional TV, and 16*9 aspect
ratio (i.e. widescreen) compared to the conventional 4*3 aspect ratio. Given that most PC's had difficulty with one
signal in conventional TV format, this represented a quantum leap in bus speed.)
- Existing Amiga programs can already be run on PC's using Amiga emulation software, so it was almost certain that any new
Amiga will be able to do this with ease, as well as emulate PC's, Macintoshes or whatever. However some programs which
cheat the Operating System for performance or other reasons, or do not follow the programming guidelines set down by
Commodore, might not work. On the other hand to expect any backward software compatibility with existing Amigas - unless
someone writes a Next Generation emulator for existing machines (highly unlikely), it would be impossible for programs
written for the Next Generation Amigas to run on existing Amigas.
- So what were to be the advantages of the new Amigas. The advantages were listed on the Amiga Inc web site at the time
and essentially represented the state of the art as far as current technology went, but at an affordable price, and even
stretched the boundaries in some areas. Using the QNX methodology would have meant the new OS should be able to prevent
any program from doing anything that it was not authorised to do, and could restrict processing to only authorised
programs, which meant that it should have been possible to prevent viruses from infiltrating the system without the need
for a virus checker, something which most PC owners affected by continuing virus attacks would envy.
- The Next Generation Amiga may have died, but nobody had counted on the inmates taking over the asylum, thereby creating
yet another new company and more ideals for the future of the Amiga.