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BeOS increases Intel support

Once sought by Apple, the software boosts support for Intel and Intel-compatible chips and adds some new applications.

Be, the operating system vendor once courted by Apple Computer, today announced an updated version of its software that boosts support for Intel and Intel-compatible processors and adds some new applications, indicating the company is slowly gaining attention from some significant developers.

Be said Release 3.2 of the BeOS, which can run on an increased number of Intel-based computers, is now available. The new version also offers improved access to Windows and other file formats and an improved Web browser.

Originally designed for use on PowerPC-based systems, BeOS is being positioned as a "specialty OS" for multimedia production that runs alongside a "general purpose OS" such as Windows 95 or the Mac OS. Apple's decision to eliminate Mac clones and inhibit access to information about Apple's newest G3 platform severely curtailed Be's ability to distribute the software to a wide audience, forcing the change.

The OS can now run on some systems with PowerPC 750 upgrade cards, but still can't run on the Power Macintosh G3 systems. But with today's release, the company continues its development of an OS for computers using Intel processors.

The new BeOS is being demonstrated at CeBIT in Germany, one of Europe's largest computer trade shows. Specific features include:

  • Support for more Pentium circuit boards
  • Support for PowerPC 750 add-in cards
  • Support for PowerPC 603ev chips
  • Improved DOS support (FAT16 and FAT32)
  • Faster animation
  • Improvements to NetPositive, Be's Web browser application
  • An improved Web server
  • A Translation Kit to access various datafile formats

    New software applications will be hugely critical to its success, since few applications are available so far for Intel-based technology.

    Of note is new software from Maxon Computer, a developer of 3D animation software based in Germany. The software, called Cinema 4D, currently runs on Windows 95, Compaq's Alpha chip, and Apple Macintosh systems and is making a play against companies such as NewTek and Kinitex, which currently dominate the market for special effects in television.

    Also, GoBe Software and BeatWare have released office productivity type applications, and Adamation has released PersonalStudio, which is used for real-time digital video compositing.