Acorn Computer plans to offer a free standardised version of its network computer hardware production and reference designs to licensees of its RISC OS operating system for information appliances.
Acorn decided to offer the hardware production and reference designs for free in order to accelerate the production of NCs in the market and to stimulate demand for its software, according to Mark Phillips, technology marketing manager for Acorn. Licensees of the RISC OS, which runs on any ARM-based RISC processor, will be given a basic version of the NC production and reference designs originally developed by Acorn for Oracle, Phillips says.
"We are looking to stimulate demand for our software and (reference and production design) customisation services," Phillips says. "The more people build hardware around our design, the quicker we see revenues from our software."
By eliminating licensing fees for the reference designs - a move Phillips equated to IBM giving away its PC design - hardware companies will be able to build NCs at a faster rate, spurring the entire market, Phillips says.
In the past, hardware manufacturers had to pay for the basic designs and then pay Acorn to customise the designs for them. Now, customers will either be able to design and build an NC using the standard, free designs, or pay Acorn to customise them, Phillips says. If a hardware manufacturer uses the reference and production designs provided with no customization, it could get an NC to market in three months, Phillips says.
Acorn, based in Cambridge, England, can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.acorn.co.uk/.