The TRON multilingual system with a framework capable of handling up to 1.5 million characters was only announced to the world in November 1999. It is barely six months old. Yet according to Vol. 63 of TRONWARE, the TRON multilingual system has already been selected for use in the creation of multilingual contents that will be offered via wireless handsets to subscribers of the J-Phone group's "J-Sky Web" service. The service, which is called Sokuseki maruchiringuaru [Impromptu multilingual], is provided in cooperation with contents partner Nihon Maruchimedeia Saabisu K.K. It allows J-Phone wireless handset users to learn words and cultural facts of various countries, and it also provides quizzes, souvenir guides, and a character transliteration service.
It another development, it was announced that the J-Phone group is jointly developing in cooperation with Aplix Corporation Java-compatible wireless handsets using Aplix's JTRON-specification operating system, "JBlend." This new JTRON-based technology is aimed at both current generation PDC-type handsets and next generation IMT-2000-type handsets. Once they become Java-capable, they will allow users to play games, listen to music, and remotely operate home appliances that can interface with the Internet.
Sennet Inc. unveiled the first screen shots of its new Chinese-language version of the B-right/V in Vol. 63 of TRONWARE. Called "B-right/VC MLE," the Chinese-language version of the BTRON3-specification operating system for IBM-PC/AT compatibles is almost the same as the Japanese-language version, except for the fact that it includes an independently developed Chinese-language input function that is expected to be an improvement over the one currently installed in the Japanese-language system. Since a major upgrade of B-right/V is scheduled for release in July (see below), Sennet will probably wait until sometime in July before it begins marketing the new operating system. Sennet has the rights to market both the Chinese-language and English-language versions of B-right/V, which was developed by Personal Media Corporation.
Work aimed at seamlessly integrating the hypertext BTRON filing system model with the hypertext filing system of the Internet, the World Wide Web, is progressing. In the BTRON-specification operating system, there is a file, called a "real object," and a link/links to that file, called a "virtual object(s)." Up to now these links have all been local, but to merge the filing system to the Internet, a new type of virtual object, called a "network virtual object," has been created for accessing real objects, html files, on the Internet. The network virtual object is used in a similar manner to a local virtual object, and on the screen there is no way of distinguishing between the two.
In addition, the Sakamura Laboratory at the University of Tokyo has announced that it has been conducting video streaming tests using the BTRON3-specification computer and its BTRON Basic Browser. As part of the "Digital Museum 2000" exhibit at the University Museum of the University of Tokyo, the researchers of the Sakamura Laboratory ported "SvPlay," a video streaming client for SoftwareVision developed at NTT Cyber Solutions Laboratories, to BTRON. SvPlay uses H.261 and H.263 encoding and the RSTP protocol for replaying the streaming data. The researchers cautioned that this is only the porting of the engine to the operating system. Before it is ready for distribution to BTRON users, other high-level streaming functions must be added, they said.
Two ITRON-related events will be held in June and July in Tokyo. ESS 2000, Embedded Systems Solution 2000, opens on Wednesday, June 7, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight), which is located in the eastern part of Tokyo. It will run until Friday, June 9. The third Embedded Systems Expo and Conference will open at the same exhibition site on Wednesday, July 12, and it will run until Friday July 14. The TRON Association will sponsor an exhibit at booth of these events
TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura announced a new specification for a data carrier operating system called "eTRON" at the TRON Association's 12th Ordinary General Meeting, which was held in Tokyo on May 30. This new operating system specification is intended for smart cards with integrated circuits based on one-chip processors into which a microprocessor and memory have been etched. Since they have much large memories in comparison to cards with magnetic strips, they are highly resistant to tampering when used in conjunction with strong encoding systems.
In addition, new middleware to enable information appliances to operate cooperatively was also announced at the meeting. This middleware, the source code for which was distributed free of charge to participants on a CD-ROM, consists of a JTRON-specification platform, embedded CORBA, and GUI middleware. It runs on top of an ITRON-specification kernel, a Java Virtual Machine, and a TCP/IP protocol stack, which must be purchased separately. The embedded applications are built on top of the middleware layer.
Personal Media Corporation announced on May 29 that it will begin marketing a new version of its BTRON3-specification operating system for IBM-PC/AT compatibles on July 7. The new operating system, B-right/V R2.5, will be marketed in Japan under the name of Cho Kanji 2 [Ultra Kanji 2]. It includes the 4,344 characters of the newly announced JIS levels 3 and 4 kanji [Chinese character] sets (JIS X 0213) in a Mincho font. The total number of characters the new system is capable of processing is 134,567 characters, an increase from 128,450 of the current version. (For a screen shot of the new operating system, click here.)
In addition to an increase in the number of characters it can process, B-right/V R2.5 boasts an improved kanji Character Search utility, a vertical character input and display function (for traditionally written Japanese), and a World Character Input utility. The improved kanji Character Search utility can search for the Chinese characters used in China, Korea, and Taiwan, which is something the old kanji Character Search utility could not do. The new World Character Input utility is equipped with more than 20 types of modules that allow users to directly input such major languages as Chinese and Korean, and it also has provisions to allow users to define keyboard inputs and character outputs.
Personal Media said the new operating system will be marketed without a manufacturer's suggested retailed price, but the street price is expected to be around 10,000 yen, which is what the current version of B-right/V R2 markets for in the Akihabara electronics district in Tokyo. In addition, the company is offering a free upgrade service for registered users of B-right/V R2, and, as part of a sales commemoration campaign, until September 30, first time users will be presented with a free explanatory video. The company said its sales target for the first year is 300,000 copies.