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Amiga flogs off ‘classic’ OS

Focusing on mobile multimedia

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Amiga, the one great hope for the future of the 1980s games platform, has sold off the operating system for which it is named.

Instead of developing the 'classic' Amiga OS, the company will focus its efforts on its mobile multimedia platform, the Amiga Digital Environment (DE), which is largely what it had been doing in any case.

The buyer is KMOS, "a State of Delaware licensed corporation [that] develops and distributes enabling technology, software applications and specialty content to the wired and wireless communication market", according to the blurb. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Amiga originally attempted to sell off the Amiga OS last year, to Itec. Itec was subsequently bought by KMOS. It's not entirely clear why it has taken so long for the companies to make the deal public. Amiga's deal with Itec was entered into on 23 April 2003.

The upshot is that KMOS gets the rights, title and source code for the Amiga OS, from the first version through to the latest, Amiga OS 4, which Amiga has been touting for the last three years or so but has yet to ship. To date version 3.9 remains the latest release.

Development work on Amiga OS 4 was long ago farmed out to European software developer Hyperion Entertainment, which will continue its work under KMOS' auspices. Hyperion reckons Amiga OS 4 will ship later this year, at long last.

UK-based Eyetech will also be allowed to carry on bundling the Amiga OS with its Amiga hardware.

Amiga's own efforts will continue to centre on Amiga DE, its Java-based cross-platform multimedia delivery system. Originally intended as a technology that would be used to deliver games and multiple media to computing and consumer electronics devices throughout the home, Amiga DE's focus has shifted of late toward the mobile market.

The technology is based on UK Java specialist Tao's CPU-independent Intent JVM, with multimedia augmentations. Amiga launch Amiga DE players for Linux and Windows back in 2001 and in the interim got the technology incorporated into Sharp's Zaurus Linux PDA and Nokia's Mediamaster digital TV receivers.

Meanwhile, it has been polishing off old Amiga games and re-issuing them for the PocketPC platform. Branded as Amiga Anywhere, the games essentially use Amiga DE. According to the company's web site, it's offering a mere 22 titles. ®

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