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Motorola Inc has announced a new real time operating system for its 8-bit and 16-bit microcontroller families, for use in what it describes as deeply embedded systems. The new system, called MobileOS, is a development of Motorola’s existing RTEK Real-Time Embedded Kernel for 32-bit microcontrollers such as the 68300 and PowerPC, first launched in 1995 (CI No 2,811). MobileOS currently runs on the 8-bit family of 68HC11 microcontrollers, and will be available on the 8-bit 68HC08 and the 16-bit 68HC12 chips towards the end of the year. Motorola says it has been designed to be compact and memory efficient, and will run complex applications as a series of real-time and time-sliced tasks, with up to 256 tasks running concurrently. The operating system supports inter- task message passing, an event mechanism for task synchronization and a time out function for task delay. It is likely to be used in industrial control systems, pagers, alpha-numeric cellular phones, and peripherals such as disk drives. Motorola is charging $3,000 for the MobileOS software development kit, but has yet to formalize the pricing structure for the system, unsure of whether a license fee will be charged per microcontroller, or if it will be bundled for free to enhance the value of the chips. Motorola has no plans to make MobileOS available on other manufactures microcontrollers. Motorola believes that the real-time operating system market is divided into three tiers, a graphical user interface level, occupied by such software as Windows CE and Personal Java, a second embedded level with the likes of Vxworks, Embedded Java and OS-9, and a deeply embedded level which it claims has no specifically tailored operating systems, aside from its own MobileOS, of course.

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