Be Inc. has revealed its rollout plans for the BeOS, the multitasking, multithreaded operating system that the company is positioning as an alternative to the Mac OS.
The next release of the software, the BeOS Preview Release, will be available in a beta version for developers in time for the Be Developer Conference May 10-11, says Be marketing director Mark Gonzales. Three weeks later, the company expects to release the software to the general public.
Gonzales says the BeOS Preview will be "roughly equivalent" to Apple 's Rhapsody Premier, which is scheduled to ship in early 1998. He notes that Preview is not a developer-only release, but will be available to the public. Apple plans a developer release of Rhapsody in mid-1997; users will have to wait for Rhapsody Premier before they can sample the new OS.
BeOS Preview will feature a revised user interface, a faster file system, and support for Unicode, an emerging standard for multilingual computing. Gonzales says the company is now summarizing the other features that can be expected in the Preview release.
Following BeOS Preview will be an "R2" release this fall, most likely in November, Gonzales says. R2 will feature changes to the BeOS Media Kit (Be's equivalent to QuickTime) along with revisions based on feedback from users and developers. R2 will also incorporate Fredlabs' VirtualMac software, which lets you run Mac applications from within the BeOS. However, Gonzales says that Be may release a VirtualMac beta prior to R2.
Be plans two releases in 1998: "R3" in March or April and "R4" late in the third quarter or early in the fourth.
Be can be reached at http://www.be.com/.