Be Unveils BeIA: For Internet Appliances and Entertertainment
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Be Unveils BeIA: For Internet Appliances and Entertertainment

BE UNVEILS BeIA, NEW SOFTWARE PLATFORM FOR INTERNET APPLIANCES AND
ENTERTAINMENT DEVICES

BeIA Delivers Superior Performance and Flexibility for Next-Generation
Post-PC Lifestyle Devices

Demo 2000 Conference, Indian Wells, Calif.-February 7, 2000-Be Incorporated
(Nasdaq: BEOS) today formally announced BeIA(tm), previously known by the
code name Stinger, its software platform for appliances that deliver
information and entertainment over the Internet. At the basis of these
devices is the need for a simple, intuitive means of accessing the Internet
without the cost, complexity and hassles often associated with personal
computers. Characterized by exceptional media handling, unfaltering
stability, and broad application flexibility, devices based on the BeIA
platform will deliver the richest possible web experience to consumers at a
low cost and with the ease of use typical of popular consumer electronics
appliances.

BEIA: SOFTWARE PLATFORM FOR THE POST-PC ERA BeIA is a device-independent
software platform for post-PC era Internet appliances focused on the
personalization of multimedia and information-rich products that enhance a
user's lifestyle. The design flexibility of BeIA allows Internet appliances
to be configured as information devices such as personal online portals or
financial management monitors. The adaptive configuration of BeIA also
extends into entertainment devices such as movie or music download and
playback systems.

"Today, consumers predominantly use general-purpose PCs to access the
Internet, send and receive e-mail and conduct e-commerce transactions, but
this is changing rapidly. While PCs have become an accepted tool for both
work and play, for many people PCs are still viewed as complex,
intimidating and unstable. They lack the 'instant on' gratification and
media handling capabilities consumers have grown to expect from their home
appliances such as televisions and other audio and stereo equipment," said
Jean-Louis Gasse, chairman and chief executive officer of Be. "To truly
make computing technology pervasive in the home, a new model for lifestyle
devices is required. Our new BeIA platform is a foundation for that model."

"The utility and pervasiveness of the Internet has created a need for a
variety of targeted, affordable and easy-to-use devices other than the PC,"
said IDC consumer device analyst Bryan Ma. "IDC believes that Information
Appliances (IAs) will address the needs of not only the technophobe, but
also the PC user who will use IAs in an adjunct role in a number of
different usage scenarios." A just-finished IDC report forecasts the
worldwide information appliance market to grow from 11 million units and
$2.4 billion in 1999 to a market of 89 million units and $17.8 billion in
2004.

SUPPORT FROM TECHNOLOGY LEADERS
Be has already announced partnerships in support of the BeIA platform with
leading hardware and system manufacturers including Compaq, National
Semiconductor, Qubit and leading motherboard manufacturer First
International Computer (FIC) of Taiwan. Additionally, Be has developed
relationships with technology partners to provide the most complete, robust
and media-rich experience, including Opera Software and RealNetworks.

INTERNET APPLIANCES - THE REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCCESS The Internet appliance
is a new paradigm in computing without a required or established cartel of
hardware reference designs or chip sets. The openness and flexibility of
this new computing model more closely resembles the "consumer electronics"
market than the "computing electronics" market, with a broader set of
players and consumer choices. To be a player in the Internet appliance
space, vendors need to deliver the user experience of high-quality,
advanced technology with the operational simplicity of basic consumer
electronics. BeIA delivers these characteristics for both consumers and
appliance vendors:

ULTRA STABLE ENVIRONMENT WITH MINIMAL BOOT TIMES BeIA delivers instant-on
and fail-safe reliability that consumers have grown to expect from consumer
technology devices such as television and cell phones.

SMALL FOOTPRINT WITH HIGHLY SCALABLE, MODULAR ENVIRONMENT BeIA's small
footprint allows vendors to take advantage of this powerful platform with
popular mobile and personal Internet appliances. Vendors can leverage their
design investments with BeIA across multiple devices and multiple
architectures. As a complete platform, featuring the Opera browser,
RealPlayer and a comprehensive set of media services, BeIA consumes less
than eight megabytes of persistent storage.

MEDIA SAVVY
Internet appliance content is inherently media-rich and highly interactive
in nature, both of which are core attributes of BeIA's architecture.

BRANDED INTERNET ACCESS
BeIA enables channel branding similar to what cable television has done
with popular news programming such as CNN. Service providers can brand an
Internet appliance as a transparent extension of their website or portal to
increase customer traffic and brand affinity by using the Internet to
deliver their own Internet channel.

RICH SET OF DE FACTO STANDARDS
Internet appliances need to be standards-rich to protect consumer hardware
investments as well as reducing developer's implementation cost and
speeding time-to-market.

DEVICES DESIGNED FOR FORM AND FUNCTION
Unlike PCs, which offer a generic set of features for virtually every
application, lifestyle devices will more commonly serve as single function
devices that excel in a specific area of focus. Therefore, an entertainment
device will have a different look and feel and set of functions than a
device from a financial services company that is designed to support online
investing. To exploit the capabilities and form factor of the device, BeIA
offers a powerful and configurable interface and the ability to offer
custom application services, regardless of the chipset, motherboard or
hardware OEM.

ARCHITECTED FOR PERFORMANCE AND PORTABILITY BeIA is a robust, multi-layered
architecture designed to offer application developers maximum design
flexibility and to minimize the porting effort for hardware manufacturers
to deliver a full-featured lifestyle experience. At the foundation of BeIA
are a core set of system functions, leveraged from BeOS, which talk
directly to the individual hardware designs. These functions perform tasks
such as low-level I/O, memory and media management. Coupled with these core
functions is a rich API development layer allowing ultimate control over
look and feel. As customization of Internet appliances is key to their
popularity, Be offers a developer design kit that requires no more
programming experience than HTML yet allows full control over look and
feel, buttons, logos and other elements of product branding.

Layered above the core functions are an integrated Internet browser and a
Java virtual machine, respectively. These applications can easily and
efficiently interface with the Internet appliance through HTML, Java and
JavaScript. The user interface is fully configurable at these levels and
offers transparent access to the Internet.

At the heart of most Internet appliances is the reliance on audio and video
multimedia. The next level of the BeIA platform focuses on streaming media
services. Working in concert with the core system functions, these media
services handle conversion, buffering, special I/O and presentation. This
level also supports downloadable codecs to take advantage of the latest
multimedia technology standards.

At the highest level of the BeIA architecture lie application services and
integration services. The application services capitalize on either
client-side or host-side services to complement the tailored offering of
the Internet appliance. These services can include, among other things,
e-mail support, file viewing and a personal information manager. By
offering these services, BeIA frees the vendor from developing applications
outside their area of expertise and help expedite time to market. The
integration services allow all of the product's capabilities to appear
unified and work in concert. The services also enable updates and upgrades
as well as information synchronization.

SUPPORT FOR INDUSTRY STANDARDS
Building on its heritage as a desktop operating system with rich multimedia
capabilities, BeIA supports a wide range of industry standards, offering
OEMs the opportunity to take advantage of PC technology and allowing
application developers to tap into an existing set of multimedia resources.
Devices can be configured with the following standards:
WEB - HTML 4.0, XML, JavaScript (ECMAScript), SSL 2.0 and 3.0, CSS 1 & 2
STREAMING MEDIA - RealNetworks RealSystem G2, Macromedia Flash
VIDEO - QuickTime, AVI, MPEG1, Cinepak, Intel Indeo
AUDIO - MP3, major PC formats
DEVICE SUPPORT - USB, IEEE 1394, analog I/O, CD reading and writing,
Windows file system support
LANGUAGES - C++, PersonalJava

AVAILABILITY
Be expects to make BeIA available to device manufacturers later in Q1 2000.
Commercial products based on the BeIA platform are expected to begin
shipping in Q2 2000.

ABOUT BE INCORPORATED
Founded in 1990, Be Incorporated creates software platforms that enable
rich media and web experiences on Internet appliances and personal
computers. Be's headquarters are in Menlo Park, California, with offices in
Paris and Tokyo. It is publicly traded on the Nasdaq National Market under
the symbol BEOS. Be can be found on the web at http://www.be.com.

 

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