RISC World

The A5, RISC OS in your pocket?

Aaron gets a sneak peak...

Well actually it's not really a sneak peak as we have been discussing this concept with Advantage 6 for some months. In common with the A6, the A5 is a Windows PC running RISC OS under VirtualRPC-Adjust, what's different about the A5 is the size, yes it's a fully featured PC, the size of a large PDA.

The A5 Showing the Artworks Apple

As you can see in the screen shot above the machine doesn't have a built in keyboard, instead it comes with a stylus touch screen, and on the development machine an onscreen keyboard can be used in portrait mode, yes portrait mode. The machine can easily switch between 800x600 in landscape mode on it's 8.4 inch TFT screen, and 600 x 800 in portrait mode.

Running in portrait mode

Tech specs

The machine comes with quite an impressive specification including:

  • A 40GB internal hard drive and 256MB of RAM.
  • Equivalent to ARM7500 performance under RISC OS.
  • Windows XP and RISC OS Adjust.
  • Built in VGA digital camera.
  • Wireless Lan, including support for ShareFS.
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • VGA out, headphone, microphone, network and card reader.
  • Fanless and near silent in operation (apart from the hard disc).

Battery life is about two and a half hours, depending on what the machine is being used for.

A number of options have been discussed and tested including pen drives and external USB CD/DVD writers.

Bundled accessories

As we have seen the A5 has no keyboard built in, however one is included with the bundled accessory pack. The keyboard comes as part of a wrap around case. When folded up the whole package is about the size of a car log book.

The attached keyboard and case

The keyboard/case attaches to the machine via a gold plated connector, so the machine can either be used as a kind of super PDA, or as a sub notebook.


Currently the A5 has been developed as a technology demonstration for a customer. If enough people pester Advantage 6 then they may decide to make a limited number of machines available to the general public. What is especially exciting is that Advantage 6 are considering doing a version based on an ARM processor running RISC OS natively. Now that would certainly be a "must have" piece of kit for all RISC OS enthusiasts.