1995 Fools: Acorn announce RISCWatch?
From stl@sn2.ee.umist.ac.uk Wed Mar 29 18:03:52 EST 1995
Article: 47779 of comp.sys.acorn
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From: stl@sn2.ee.umist.ac.uk (Stuart Tyrrell)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.acorn,comp.sys.acorn.tech,comp.sys.acorn.hardware,comp.sys.acorn.misc
Subject: Acorn announce RISCWatch?
Date: 27 Mar 1995 10:20:06 GMT
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Acorn announce wristwatch computer.

In a hastily organised meeting last week, Acorn gathered together a select
group of hardware and software developers to give them pre-release details
of their latest product.

Looking like it should be in a sci-fi movie rather than a meeting room in
Cambridge, the Acorn RISCWatch measures 40mm by 50mm. The front of the
watch comprises of a colour LCD screen (as used in some camcorder
viewfinders), and three moulded buttons. There are also four similar
function buttons on the side of the watch - two each on the left and right
of the body.

The screen (which is one of the "new generation" LCD screens recently
released on the open market) is capable of resolving 240x200 pixels in
full colour. This has enabled Acorn to implement a cut-down version of the
RISC OS desktop, although the relatively poor resolution and hardware
differences between the RISCWatch and the desktop machines will require
modification to many existing applications. "You can see the obvious
problems that Acorn have had with the user interface," commented one
developer, "It's difficult enough providing mouse movement with a limited
number of buttons. Having said that, I'm very impressed with the
implementation, and we expect to release many of our products in
'WatchWare complient' form as soon as we can".

The RISCWatch is based around a version of the new ARM7500 processor.
"We've worked hard with ARM to develop this custom version of the ARM7
chipset." an Acorn spokesman said, "We have retained certain functions of
the ARM7500, such as the full ARM7 core and the LCD driver, but there are
obviously sections of the device which were not needed, for example much
of the input/output circuitry. This has resulted in a smaller die size,
and allowed us to include a ROM macrocell on the device, thus reducing the
number of external components. RAM is currently in a seperate package
within the watch, although we expect to integrate all of the logic onto
one die in the near future."

Obviously the watch was not designed to be a word processor (although
there were some mad souls using !Chars and !Edit), so communication with a
desktop machine is vital. The watch is supported by an inductive loop
coupling system - you place the machine on a pad which has an electrical
coil underneath. Signals in this coil are received by a similar coil
within the watch. Apparently, Acorn did investigate the "flashing screen"
technique used by another recent watch release, but opted for the inducive
approach as communication is bi-directional, and there is no need for
connectors or trailing wires.

The release of the RISCWatch came as a suprise to most of the people
attending the meeting "We had heard rumours that Acorn were looking into
developing a new portable machine, but this... it's amazing! We were only
expecting a colour version of the A4!", commented one. "Aha! So this is
project Looflirpa - We'd wondered what the Medusa team was doing these
days" said another. "Where can I get one? Do you think they've counted
them all?" whispered a few fools.

The official release of the RISCWatch, scheduled for April 1, will be
accompanied by a concerted advertising campaign (the first for some time
from Acorn). Although coverage will be by paper media initially, it is
hoped that strong sales of the RISCWatch will finance a series of
television advertisements scheduled to begin 1 April 1996.

The slogan? "The Acorn RISCWatch - Put an ARM on your arm!".

|    This article is (c) Stuart Tyrrell / Illusions Disc Magazine     |
| Subs: Illusions,22 Wray Close,St Anns,Nottg'm NG3 2FS. 0115-9507466 |

Posted by Stuart Tyrrell