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PowerUp - The Next Generation:
phase 5 digital products announces an Amiga-OS-compatible computer for 1997


Oberursel, May 1996: According to the plans of phase 5 digital products,
Oberursel near Frankfurt, Germany, the coming year, 1997, will be a year of
joy for all Amiga enthusiasts.  As an expansion of the PowerUp project,
which involves developing PowerPC processor cards for existing Amiga
models, the company has announced that an independent Amiga OS-compatible
computer system will be available in the first six months of 1997,
representing a revolution on the computer market.

"We will continue to give our full support to the Amiga idea because as we
were among the first Amiga users we continue to believe in the advantages
and superior concepts of the Amiga", says Wolf Dietrich, Managing Director
of phase 5 digital products.  "However, it is high time for a radical leap
forwards in technology that needs to be borne by a vision of a computer for
the next millennium.  We have seen too many half-hearted efforts in the
last few years." In the view of Gerald Carda, Technical Director at phase
5, it is necessary to take a step towards complete innovation in order to
realise such a vision.  "Concepts that build up on the standard components
of the PC world never offer the scope that give a computer system the lead
that the Amiga 1000 had over other systems 12 years ago."

In line with this philosophy, the new computer will be based on a highly
integrated Custom Chip design which, as a central functional unit, will
enable the system to achieve a hitherto unknown performance.  "We will
demonstrate the possibilities that are inherent in the resolute and
single-minded pursuit of a new development that does not become submerged
in the mainstream of adaptation to the Wintel world and the general
tendency towards economy in the PC mass market which more or less throttles
innovation for the sake of saving one single dollar", continues Gerald
Carda.  Despite this, the system now being announced is not intended to
become a dream machine in the high price category.  In the words of Wolf
Dietrich: "On the basis of our current price calculation we will be able to
offer unusually good value for money for which our products for the Amiga
market are already renowned."

It is actually true that the extremely high degree of integration and the
realisation of novel concepts will make it possible to achieve a
performance that explodes existing bounds.  Based on the PowerPC as the
main processor, the new computer, in addition to the high performance of
the processor, offers hardware support for multimedia (MPEG) and 3D
functions, while even the basic system offers a resolution of 1600x1200
pixels at 24-bit color depth and a refresh rate of 72 Hz.  At the same time
special functions for image and video effects have been implemented in the
hardware.  In addition there are audio inputs and outputs in stereo CD
quality, a video-compatible and Genlock-capable 24-bit video output and an
FBAS/S-VHS video input.  Along with the usual interfaces, the system is
rounded off by a Fast SCSI-II controller, a network interface and an ISDN
interface.  With these features a complete system with a 120 MHz 603e
PowerPC, 16 MByte memory, a SCSI hard disk of 1 GB and a quad-speed CD ROM
will be available for a purchase price of around 3,000 DM (1,400 pounds or
2,000 US$, respectively) on the basis of the present market prices for the
components.  "We hope that in just about one year from now we will even be
able to offer a 150 to 166 MHz 603e-processor at this price", anticipates
Wolf Dietrich.  "In terms of performance the processor has no problems in
keeping up with a Pentium processor with an equally fast clock.  However,
there is no sign of any comparable graphic performance anywhere the PC
field and the features of our systems will be difficult to match." There
will be a similar system available with a PowerPC 604-e processor and 150
MHz for about 4,000 DM (1,800 pounds or 2,700 US$, respectively).

Although phase 5 digital products state that the total concept for the
system has already been under development for quite some time and has
practically been concluded, it is not possible to publish a more exact
description of the system features at the present point in time.  "At the
moment we are intensively concerned with looking into whether it would be
worth applying for a patent for any of the concepts we have developed and,
if so, for which.  So unfortunately we are not able to publish more precise
details of the concept until after this process has been concluded and we
have possibly applied for protection by patent", says Gerald Carda.  For
this reason we cannot reckon with any publication of the full system
specifications until the end of June.

Not only the hardware concept of phase 5, but also the software approach
comes as a surprise.  The new computer system will be supplied with a
completely new operating system written in Native PowerPC code, but with
binary compatibility with Amiga-OS 3.x.  Here Gerald Carda has the
following comments: "As we are already developing an Amiga-compatible
PowerPC-Exec with an expansion library and a PowerPC CyberGraphX version in
the context of the PowerUp developments, it is the logical consequence that
the next step will be the innovative development of the other components. 
An operating system that is compatible with Amiga-OS 3.x makes it possible
for the user to continue to use the existing software that can run under
CyberGraphX, while developers who already give massive support to
CyberGraphX will be able to continue to maintain and develop their products
at the present level.  In this way we will be enabling Amiga users to
switch to the new system without any problems." "In addition", continues
Gerald Carda, "we will be opening up ways of making considerable
improvements in the internal structure and extensive additions to the scope
of functions".  Besides the 24-bit support which has already become a
standard due to CyberGraphX, Gerald Carda names the coming CyberGraphX 3D
and multimedia interface as an example.  There will also be an optimisation
of the system's performance and a revision and adaptation of the user
interface in line with the functional and optical state of the art.  "For
years Amiga-OS has represented the conceptual realisation of ideas that
today are propagated by many to be special innovations.  This means that
reprogramming will make it possible to achieve a really highly powered and
modern OS.  Of course our system will also be open for other operating
systems or emulations, such as MacOS or an X-Windows link-up.  The
discussion concerning so-called new operating systems, however, was
intended more as marketing hype than as a realistic alternative."

The commitment with which phase 5 digital products will force forward this
project is reflected not least in the considerable volume of investment
that has been made in the development.  "By the middle of 1997 we will have
invested seven-digit figures in this project", says Wolf Dietrich.  "We
have the know-how, the development team, the technical equipment, the
support from third parties (especially Motorola) and the financial basis
for this project.  The only thing that we still need is massive and
positive support from the Amiga user basis.  With this early disclosure of
our objectives we expect to receive the anticipated response from the
users, for, after all, such a project only makes sense if there is still a
large number of convinced Amiga fans.  We therefore appeal to all Amiga
fans to write to us, to send us faxes or to contact us via E-mail (under
the address specially set up for this purpose: aproject@phase5.de).  Every
positive reaction will strengthen this forward-looking project."


PowerUP project continues to make progress

The PowerUp project also continues to make progress.  "The delivery of the
developer PowerPC boards will now start in summer", says Gerald Carda. 
"Unfortunately, we are a few months behind in our schedule due to extensive
discussions between Motorola, Amiga Technologies and phase 5.  These
companies were to agree on a close cooperation and clarify a number of
matters, especially with regard to new standards specific to the new
PowerPC.  After the discussion concerning a takeover by VIScorp started and
the wave or redundancies that directly followed at Amiga Technologies,
which led to most of the contact persons who had been involved in the
projects leaving the company, AT abandoned the present cooperation.  For
this reason we will waste no further time and will continue with our
project on our own, which was the way in which we started it.  Nor can we
wait any longer to see what VIScorp might possibly intend or not intend."

The support for external developers in the PowerUp program is now complete.
More than 250 developers - including practically all noted commercial
software suppliers in the Amiga field - are registered and their numbers
are growing every day.  This alone is evidence of the strong support for
the future Amiga-compatible PowerPC platform.  As from the second half of
May, the registered users will now be able to order the PowerPC Beta
developer boards from phase 5 which mean the green light for the hot phase
of the world-wide software development.


Motorola appreciates the concept of phase 5

In the realisation of their new, innovative computer system phase 5 will be
fully supported by Motorola.  "We appreciate the powerful and innovative
concept that phase 5 represents and we fully support the efforts of this
company as a partner in our global PowerPC strategy." says John Letham,
European Technical Marketing Manager, Motorola RISC Microprocessors.  "We
have had a number of joint meetings now and we are impressed by the
know-how and vision that is the basis of phase 5's driving force."


Technology demonstrations
In close cooperation with Motorola phase 5 is preparing technology
demonstrations, to be shown in due course, which will demonstrate the
impressive capabilities of the next generation of PowerPC 603e CPUs at
significantly increased clock rates.  This programme is already underway
and Summer of 1996 will see phase 5 present prototypes of PowerPC boards
for Amiga 3000/4000 as well as for the Apple Macintosh 7500/8500/9500
series.  "With the presentation of these new processors, Motorola as a
leading semiconductor manufacturer clearly illustrates their capabilities
demonstrating exactly why the next generation of PowerPC CPUs will hold the
pole position in the microprocessor performance race".  says Wolf Dietrich
of phase 5.  "Our computer system, when shipping next year, will also offer
these extremely fast processors, delivering true high-end workstation
performance.  The higher speed of the CPUs will also deliver a performance
increase to the upgrade boards for existing Amiga systems." With the
presentation of this PowerPC technology demo on Apple MacIntosh system
phase 5 digital products announces their entry into the MacIntosh
accelerator market.  This new branch of their operation will make
additional use of the PowerPC know-how that is been build up in the Amiga
development, while for both the Amiga and the MacIntosh PowerPC products an
even more attractive pricing can be realized due to the higher quantity
demands of PowerPC processors.


phase 5 digital products on the situation of Amiga Technologies

In addition to this project announcement, phase 5 also made some side
remarks on the current state of affairs with regard to Amiga Technologies.
"To our regret we found that Amiga Technologies offers us no sort of
outlook or basis for developing into the future", says Wolf Dietrich.  "The
first year of Amiga Technologies was marked by a continued chain of wrong
decisions which have been responsible for the bad situation in which the
company now finds itself.  The results must be adequate to the objectives
set in the spring of 1995 and in this respect they are more than
disappointing.  There is no getting away from this.  In fact the same
mistakes were made that were previously made at Commodore and partly by the
same people.  For example, attempts continue to keep technically outdated
products on the market at unrealistic prices, which is particularly true in
the case of the A4000T.  Another point is that the marketing concepts are
completely outdated, there is an absence of any kind of futuristic vision
and a lack of any independent development, which is so pronounced that
today AT neither has any 68060 technology to show for itself nor even a
sign of any PowerPC technology.  The brief spark of any independent
development was extinguished again by the latest wave of redundancies.  In
this respect the only thing that we can just about expect from AT is that
they sell off their large quantities of existing stock.  These do give us
some cause to hope that the existing products will be on the market for a
while and that, in due course, they will be offered at more realistic
prices.  Finally, the only thing that can be said about the activities of
AT is: They should have asked someone who knows his stuff."

In the opinion of phase 5 a takeover of Amiga Technologies by VIScorp does
not awaken hope of any major innovations or any strengthening of the Amiga
system.  "So far we have heard nothing from VIScorp that would cause us to
assume that anything different is being planned than the exploitation of
the Amiga technology in a settop box.  Nor do we see why this company,
which must certainly concentrate all its efforts on realising its settop
projects, should be interested in further pursuing the primary aim of
continuing with the Amiga system.  If this had been the case, it would
already have been quite feasible for VIScorp to initiate such a project as
a licensee of the Amiga technology." phase 5 sees this critical opinion
confirmed by current events.  "The actions of VIScorp do not convince us
that they are serious in continuing with the Amiga.  So far, for example,
VIScorp has not directly spoken to the developers who were the last to
support the Amiga.  Nor was there any reaction when we tried to make
contact.  The VIScorp meeting in Toulouse that has now been announced lacks
any kind of organisation and was called without there being any
recognisable concept behind it.  For this reason it is more than doubtful
whether even a sign of any constructive result can be expected to come out
of it, so that in our view it would be a pure waste of time to attend, as
we have repeatedly found in the recent year at ESCOM meetings.  We don't
need a repeat of that." Let it be mentioned in passing that the hope often
expressed in the general discussion, i.e.  that in VIScorp Amiga will find
itself taken over by a company that will finance the development of a new
generation of Amiga products more or less from the petty cash, is something
that Wolf Dietrich considers to be very optimistic.  "For a start we had
exactly the same expectations a year ago when everyone thought that the
giant ESCOM would get things moving at Amiga from a standing position and
quickly produce a new generation of Amiga computers for a more competitive
price.  Secondly we should first wait and see whether the figures that have
been bandied about in the discussion concerning VIScorp's takeover of AT
have any sort of real fundament."


About phase 5 digital products

phase 5 digital products, based in Oberursel near Frankfurt, are
internationally operating manufacturers of hardware and software products.
The company is entirely owned by its founders, Gerald Carda and Wolf
Dietrich.  Since the market launch of its first product line in 1992 this
company, which consists of an experienced team of the first Amiga users and
developers, quickly established itself as one of the leading manufacturers
in the Amiga market.  Since 1992 its products have been distinguished many
times, including 20 awards for Product of the Year in Amiga journals.  In
1995 phase 5 supplied accessories to the value of some DM 12 million (5.5
million pounds or 8 million US$) in the Amiga market alone.  Since the
Christmas season of 1995 almost 30,000 hardware products have been
delivered.  The product portfolio for Amiga includes accelerator cards,
SCSI controllers and graphics cards.  In these fields phase 5 digital
products has repeatedly proved itself to be manufacturer that is a
forerunner and an innovative leader, for instance in bringing out the first
Zorro III-DMA-SCSI controller world-wide, the Fastlane Z3, in producing the
first 68030 card world-wide with a DMA-SCSI controller for the Amiga 1200,
in offering the first 68060 card world-wide for Amiga systems (the
Cyberstorm 060/50 for A4000), in manufacturing the first 64-bit graphics
card world-wide with full system-integrated 24-bit support (the
CyberVision64 for A3000/A4000) or in bringing out the first 68060 card for
the A1200 world-wide, the Blizzard 1260.  Along with intensive development
activities as a Beta developer for Motorola in the 68060 and PowerPC field,
hardware developments at phase 5 include pure research work in the field of
multimedia high-performance DSPs and in the latest development department
ASE (advanced silicon engineering) VLSI chip design.  An expanding team of
some 20 staff is currently working on these projects at the company's
headquarters in Oberursel on premises covering an area of 960 square
metres.  In the adjoining service area, which covers an area of almost 600
square metres, the company, as from August 96, will be producing hardware
products - including the new PowerPC products - in its own, highly modern
manufacturing plant using the most recent manufacturing techniques.

Contact:
phase 5 digital products
In der Au 27
61440 Oberursel, Germany
Intl. Phone:  +49 6171 583787
   Intl.Fax:  +49 6171 583789
   Homepage:   http://www.phase5.de
      Email:   mail@phase5.de
         or:   aproject@phase5.de