BeOS Release 4 will ship in December, the company said, with expanded support for hardware and multimedia.
The release is the second for Intel-based systems and runs on more processors and chip sets, the company said. The system supports Windows-formatted disks, allowing BeOS users to read from and write to Windows volumes. The company will also provide client software that lets BeOS systems connect to Windows NT servers and other Windows clients for file sharing. Users will be able to boot the system from the BeOS CD-ROM on Intel systems. The Intel version also has a new graphics driver architecture, which Be said will make driver development easier.
The release offers improved networking, Be said, and support for SCSI interface cards. The company said USB support will soon be available.
Be said with Release 4 it focused on optimizing the OS -- including the performance of the BeOS kernel -- and said users should see a speed boost of 25 to 30 percent.
Other improvements include a new Media Kit, which will give developers access to the OS's core set of components for time-based media applications.
The company said it also boosted OpenGL performance and is working on implementing hardware acceleration for the 3D standard.
On the downside, the company said that although the OS does run on many of the PowerPC 603 and 604 systems, it does not yet work on PowerPC G3 systems from Apple.