A9home

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A9home
A9home logo.png
Advantage Six A9home (front).jpg
A9home front, showing power button, speaker sockets and USB ports
Developer Advantage Six
Manufacturer Advantage Six
Release date May 2006 (2006-05)
Operating system RISC OS
CPU Samsung S3C2440, ARM926EJS, ARMv5
Memory 128 MB SDRAM, 8 MB VRAM
Storage 40 GB hard disc
Predecessor Risc PC, Iyonix PC
Successor Touch Book, ARMini

The A9home is a niche[1] small-form-factor desktop computer running RISC OS Adjust32. It was officially unveiled at the 2005 Wakefield Show,[2][3][4] and is the second commercial ARM-based RISC OS computer to run a 32-bit version of RISC OS. When the Iyonix was withdrawn from sale, the A9home remained the only hardware to be manufactured specifically for the RISC OS marketplace.[5]

It is smaller than the Mac mini and housed in cobalt-blue aluminium casing, measuring 168 mm × 103 mm × 53 mm in size.[6] The machine runs on a 400 MHz Samsung ARM9 processor, has 128 MB SDRAM of main memory and 8 MB VRAM and houses an internal harddisc of 40 GB. On the front, it features two USB 1.1 ports, a microphone and a headphones socket. On the rear, it has two USB 1.1 ports, two PS/2 ports, 10/100 BaseT network port, a RS-232 serial port and a power connection socket. Like the Mac mini, it is powered by an external PSU (5 V, 20 W). Furthermore, it has a power/reset switch, a status/health indicator and a drive activity indicator LED. The A9home is not designed to be internally expanded.

The A9home can use a program called Aemulor to emulate older 26-bit applications. This was originally developed for Castle's Iyonix PC.

In April 2006, Advantage Six Ltd announced that they were focussing on connectivity in the run-up to that year's Wakefield Show. At the show, they demonstrated integrated bluetooth.[7] Although the A9home has been officially released for purchase by end-users, its custom version of RISC OS 4 remains unfinished. As of 2012, RISCOS Ltd has not commented when, or if, their OS will become feature complete. In 2013 RISCOS Ltd closed.

History and development[edit]

Rear view, showing connectors

In 2004, RISCOS Ltd privately began work on a version of RISC OS that supported 32-bit addressing modes found on later ARM architectures, RISC OS Adjust (Adjust 32), which is compatible with current ARM processors and designed for both embedded and desktop forms. The first, and so far only, machine to make use of the 32-bit version of the OS is the Advantage6 A9home. It was released in May 2006 after a 12 month Beta testing process,[8] although the current build of Adjust 32, namely RISC OS 4.42, is a prerelease and no final version of the OS has yet been released.[9] It was intended to be the first in a series of machines, with others running Linux.[10]

Both 26- and 32-bit builds of new RISC OS 4 releases can now be compiled from the same source code,[11] but will have to be modified to run on each individual machine supported, as the OS has no HAL at present. Instead it has a hardware-abstracted kernel, which allows specific code to be substituted for each platform supported.[12]

Other configurations[edit]

The A9home is the retail version of the A9, for OEM customers was the A9 also available in a Half-width 1U rack mountable ruggedised case (1.75" x 8.5" x 10"), "A9RM" and as a wall/bulkhead-mountable unit with integral 8.4" TFT touchscreen, GPS and GSM/GPRS, "A9Loc".[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halfacree, Gareth (October 26, 2012). "Otellini predicts ARM's Transmeta-like fate". bit-tech. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ Loli-Queru, Eugenia (2005-05-21). "Wakefield RISC OS show report (live)". OSNews. Retrieved 2011-06-28. "[...] this weekend's RISC OS show. So far seen there is the A9 Home machine, which runs RISC OS on an ARM9 processor, VirtualRiscPC for MacOS X [...]" 
  3. ^ Wakefield 2005 Show Report, Phil Mellor and Andrew Duffell, published 22 May 2005 (retrieved 20 September 2006)
  4. ^ timothy (2055-05-22). "AdvantageSix Promises a Tiny ARM-based Computer". Slashdot. Retrieved 2011-06-30. "Drobe, one of the leading RISC OS news websites, is reporting that AdvantageSix have displayed an in-development version of their forthcoming A9home system." 
  5. ^ Holwerda, Thom (2008-09-29). "Iyonix Range Taken Off the Market". OSNews. Retrieved 2011-06-28. "Iyonix [...] taken off the market [...] This leaves Advantage6 as the only manufacturer of RISC OS hardware with its A9Home computer." 
  6. ^ Photo of Mac mini and A9home, Phil Mellor, published 22 May 2005 (retrieved 20 September 2006)
  7. ^ A9 gets bluetooth, Andrew Duffell, published 3 April 2006 (retrieved 20 September 2006)
  8. ^ A9home on sale from CJE Micros, drobe.co.uk, 6 May 2006, accessed 2009-07-16
  9. ^ Chris's Acorns - Advantage Six A9home
  10. ^ Proven, Liam (2005-11-22). "New RISC OS machine coming soon". The Inquirer. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-27. "The A9 Home will be the first in a line of A9 machines: others will run Linux and offer different capabilities." 
  11. ^ "RISCOS Ltd Press Release 03/02/2006". RISCOS Ltd. Retrieved 2011-03-28. "[T]he major reason for moving over to the 32 bit neutral source for RISC OS 4 was to enable the production of a unified source that could build versions for both Risc PC generation computers and newer computers such as the A9 and Iyonix." 
  12. ^ "RISC OS Select 4 changes". RISCOS Ltd. Retrieved 2011-03-28. "Hardware abstraction [...] much of the hardware driven by the kernel in earlier versions of the OS is now handled by discrete driver modules [...]" 
  13. ^ The A9 series

External links[edit]