RISC World

Hardware World: WiMAX

Fancy investing in some new kit for your computer? David Bradforth takes a look at some options.

Media Pilot

Supplier: Belkin

Price: TBC


Perhaps best known to RISC OS users for their work in the Internet accessory market, Belkin have recently been expanding their range with a number of keyboards. This, the Media Pilot, is a fully functional multimedia keyboard doubling as a universal remote control for your TV, DVD, Video and CD player.

As a keyboard, it works well and feels good. You'll find yourself drawn to the tap-tap response of the keys, and the response on the screen cannot be questioned. There's an integrated mouse with the keyboard, which feels a tad awkward to make use of - the left/right/scroll components are on the left of the keyboard, movement on the right more akin to a game in the arcade.

It's a wireless offering which is nice, but at the end of the day the question you must ask is simply how much demand there can be for a universal remote control six times the size of the normal one.


Supplier: KYE Europe Ltd

Price: £12.99


Designed to compliment laptops, flat screen PCs and portable CD/MP3 players, the SPJ-06 is a slim speaker set that looks very nice. Aesthetically, you can see it being quite at home if ten times the size in the midst of a passionate music lover. Okay, perhaps we're overstating the point here - but they are very nice looking speakers and given the size no worse than any you may have received with your PC.

Sound quality is reasonable, the ease with which you can control the volume useful, but the fact it requires a fixed power supply for what is actively pushed as a device for use with CD players and Laptops a big disappointment.


Supplier: Verbatim

Price: £59.99


With the 5-in-1, Verbatim have brought to market a device the size of a keyring offering combined functionality of digital camera, camcorder, web cam, dictaphone and removable hard drive. Given its size this device offers an astonishing amount for the money.

The picture quality for photography or videos is passable but nothing to write home about; as a web cam it's easily up to the standards of its competition; as a dictaphone it's useful for little more than quick voice notes but as a removable means of large-file storage it's to be recommended.

As a standard USB device, you should have no troubles using the 5-in-1 with a RISC OS USB podule; and at the right price it certainly offers more than the competition. Worth a look if you need such a thing, or even if you simply just like gadgets.


Supplier: CJE Micros

Price: £499 + VAT


Since its first announcement the A9home has been the cause of much speculation within the RISC OS market. Running a native version of RISC OS Adjust 32, the A9home case is barely the size of the Mac Mini making it very easy to pick up and walk away with. This may, in fact, be the reason why recent show pictures of the RISC OS Expo have the RISC OS Ltd A9home smothered in 'property of RISCOS Ltd' stickers.

The specification of the machine is as follows:

  • 400MHz Samsung ARM9 processor
  • Graphics processor
  • Power Management Unit
  • 128M SDRAM
  • 8M VRAM
  • 40GB hard disc
  • 2-3W average internal power usage

Located on Front Panel

  • 2 x USB
  • Microphone in
  • Headphone out
  • Power/Reset button
  • Status LEDs

Located on Rear Panel

  • 2 x USB
  • 2 x PS/2
  • 10/100MBit network
  • Serial port
  • Video Out
  • Power In


  • Colour: Cobalt Blue
  • Enclosure: Rugged Aluminium chassis
  • Size: 168 x 103 x 53 mm (6.6" x 4.1" x 2.1" approx.)
  • Weight: 550g (approx. 1lb 3oz)
  • Power: 20W power supply unit (plenty of overhead for external devices)


  • RISC OS Adjust 32 (flash ROM)
  • Popular Simtec USB stack
  • Many applications run unaltered

If you're prepared to experiment with a pre-production machine, the A9home is available to developers now for £449+VAT directly from Advantage 6. Visit their website at for details.

Dave Bradforth