With AmigaOS 4 officially released to AmigaOne owners it would seem that companies are eager to deliver new hardware so other users can join the move to PowerPC systems. Alternative Holding Group, Soft 3 and Virtual Works have taken a step forward in their plans by forming a new company which will take care of the production and commercialisation of the Sam440ep product line.
At the heart of the Sam is the PowerPC 440, a System On Chip (SoC) made by AMCC under a licence from IBM. The main characteristic of a SoC system is the presence, together with the CPU, of a number of integrated peripherals which allow to build a complete system with a huge savings of both development and debug time, with less components and space used on the PCB. As a consequence, the board doesn't need the classical northbridge / southbridge combination because a part of their functionalities are implemented in the CPU, and the balance is provided by other components and devices.
The plans of these Italian companies have already attracted the interest of Amiga Inc. In a speech broadcasted to visitors at Pianeta Amiga, Bill McEwen said, "I am very pleased in working with the Samantha team and I know that they will be showing you this new product and we our looking forward to getting OS 4 on that platform and available as this will allow us to have new products, new hardware, and running with the PowerPC 440 it will enable new product types to be delivered in the portable area and handhelds, and lightweight". It seems likely that ACube Systems will be granted a licence to use AmigaOS 4 in their hardware.
ACube Systems plans to have the Sam ready for production in the first quarter of this year. The new company will also do further research and development for the embedded and desktop markets, and so other hardware may become available.