At the Demo 2000 new technology show in California Monday, Be launched BeIA, an operating system for the fledgling Internet appliance market.
The mobile operating system -- formerly code-named Stinger -- is designed for wireless multimedia devices such as Web pads and streaming media devices.
BeIA is an 8MB device-independent, modular software platform based on the company's desktop operating system, BeOS. It features the Opera Internet browser, RealPlayer G2 video and audio, support for Macromedia Flash and a fully customisable user interface. It also offers support for downloadable codecs, including MP3 and streaming media such as QuickTime.
The new operating system enters a fiercely competitive market with Symbian's Epoc, Microsoft's Windows CE and the Palm OS all battling to be the standard for mobile Internet access devices. Undeterred, Jean Calmon, vice president Be Europe, claims BeIA has several advantages over its rivals for building tailored Internet access devices. "BeIA has been specifically designed to handle Internet media and has the architecture to handle sound and video better than many others," he says. "It is also extremely easy to develop, it's simple and it's extremely scaleable. It is not just a subset of something else."
Companies have already announced support for the new platform and include Compaq, National Semiconductor, and Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer First International Computer, which is due to launch a range of Internet appliances based on BeIA, code named Genesis, at CeBIT later this month. Compaq is expected to unveil a working device based on the OS at Demo 2000.
Be also announced it had worked with Intel to optimise the platform on its Celeron processor to provide a reference platform for manufacturers building home Internet audio devices.