ALAMEDA, Calif. -(BUSINESS WIRE)- Dec. 9, 1997 - Geoworks (NASDAQ:GWRX), a leading provider of smart phone software solutions, today announced the release of GEOS(R)-SC(TM), the world's first graphical operating system designed exclusively to meet the needs of the rapidly emerging smart phone market.
Offering unprecedented advantages in portability, scalability and flexibility, GEOS-SC establishes a new standard for communications-centric smart phone platforms by providing digital cellular handset manufacturers with the most complete set of functionality available for their phone designs, ranging from enhanced phones to smart communicators.
Geoworks also announced today that Mitsubishi, one of Japan's leading consumer products manufacturers, has licensed GEOS-SC for its new line of affordable mobile communications devices that will combine voice and data services for the Japanese domestic market.
Smart phones convey voice and data communications, so it is critical that the operating system for these devices be communications-centric. Because GEOS-SC was designed specifically for mobile communications devices, it provides fully integrated support for a full range of important communications features.
GEOS-SC's new MessageCentral, Geoworks' universal messaging architecture, seamlessly manages all types of communication, including voice, fax, short messaging, and email. MessageCentral allows applications to easily add messaging capabilities and provides automatic integration with international messaging protocols, from Internet e-mail to Japanese Niftyserve and 10-Yen email.
Geoworks has fully integrated browser technology into the GEOS-SC operating system. This allows applications to easily link with existing Web pages, making it easy to run an application while concurrently accessing a complimentary Web site. For example, a user could open up a calendar application, then access a Web site of airline schedules and view both at the same time for ease in trip planning. Additionally, call linking allows users to make calls directly from browsers, applications (such as an address book) or value added services (such as a restaurant guide service to make a reservation).
The underlying protocols of TCP/IP and PPP may also be directly accessed through industry-standard BSD sockets, and have been optimized for wireless connections.
Accommodates A Range of Products
GEOS-SC allows for easy scalability to meet specific hardware requirements for a variety of products. These products can range from graphically enhanced wireless phones that combine telephony capabilities with targeted graphical information services, to feature-rich all-in-one communicators that offer a wider range of telephony and content and information capabilities.
GEOS-SC supports 32 bit RISC CPU platforms, including Hitachi SH, MIPS, and ARM. The OS is designed to be easily ported to other CPUs as needed by OEM partners.
Flexible and Modular
Geoworks designed its new 32-bit operating system to offer the greatest flexibility possible. With its patented, flexible user interface, Geoworks is the only OS developer to offer easy customization of individual screen appearances and end-user experiences. GEOS-SC's flexible user interface creates a practical way for manufacturers to enhance brand identity in their devices and emphasize product differentiation. This enables a variety of manufacturers to use the same core operating system, but still create completely different hand-held communications products.
GEOS-SC features object-oriented technology and a modular design that allows manufacturers to select only the functionality they need in their devices. GEOS-SC's unparalleled flexibility and modularity in design allows developers to focus on creating unique applications for their devices.
"IDC expects a range of smart phone designs to come to market. This trend will mean that smart phone vendors will need a flexible operating system to create brand identity for multiple devices within their mobile product line," said Diana Hwang, senior industry analyst for market research firm International Data Corp., based in Framingham, Mass. "To help differentiate products, IDC believes it is crucial for an operating system to be modular. This will enable smart phone manufacturers to choose and implement only key component elements for incorporation into their mobile devices."
Compact and Robust
Geoworks is committed to continually increasing the overall efficiency of its technology. GEOS-SC's innovative, compact design minimizes CPU, RAM and ROM requirements, which reduces device cost and size, increases battery life, and delivers state-of-the-art performance on a wide range of processors. Currently, the new OS has a minimum configuration of 256kb, less than half the size of its previous operating system.
Efficient use of battery life is a critical component of successful wireless communications devices, so GEOS-SC's PowerMiser, an intelligent power management module, controls and minimizes power usage of the central processing unit and other hardware.
"With our extensive experience in creating software designs for small, battery-powered devices, we are in the best position to address the issues facing wireless handset manufacturers," said Gordon Mayer, Geoworks chairman and CEO. "In developing GEOS-SC, we listened to what our customers needed in an operating system and evolved our existing technology to supply the best solution for these market demands. GEOS-SC highlights our focus on delivering the best software solutions for the full range of smart phones, and puts us even further ahead of the competition."
During the last decade, Geoworks has built a solid reputation for staying ahead of the curve in developing operating systems for resource-constrained devices such as low cost PCs, information appliances, PDAs and smart phones. GEOS-SC represents an important development in the smart phone market because it incorporates the design and implementation experience Geoworks has gained from creating operating systems that provide compelling integrated communications capabilities in devices with small form factors, limited screen size, rich functionality and extreme ease of use.
DataVault, GEOS-SC's high-performance database, has been optimized for speed, synchronization and security. DataVault is designed to efficiently manage all types of data on mobile communications devices, and gives consumers rapid access to information shared in the database. To meet the growing demand of users who want to exchange this data with desktop PCs or corporate intranets, GEOS-SC is optimized to minimize air time usage when synchronizing.
In addition, because of the instability of the mobile environment, DataVault is designed to automatically preserve data in applications if the device loses power (i.e. the battery dies or pops out) or loses its air connection. Its robust design ensures data is protected at all times.
An Open Platform
To facilitate independent customization, GEOS-SC incorporates industry standard PC-based development tools, including C++, one of the most widely used software tools in the world with more than 1.5 million users. This allows handset manufacturers to bring new products to market quickly because it eliminates the need to learn new proprietary programming languages. Because Java also expands the functionality of the GEOS-SC platform by enabling the operating system to run applets, manufacturers and third-party developers will be able to easily create additional applications for GEOS-SC-based smart phones.
The advantages of GEOS-SC extend beyond handset manufacturers. Digital cellular network operators benefit from the advanced functionality of GEOS-SC-based devices though increased opportunities to provide complementary information services, such as Geoworks' own Wireless Content and Services products.
Based in Alameda, Calif., Geoworks Corporation is a leading software provider for manufacturers of mobile communicating devices, including smart phones, as well as the cellular industry. The company has licensed its GEOS(R) and GEOS-SC(TM) operating systems to leading manufacturers, including Mitsubishi, Nokia, Ericsson, NEC, Toshiba Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Brother International Corp. and Canon Business Machines. In addition, the company is working with content and services providers and international cellular operators. For additional information on Geoworks, its operating system and wireless content services, contact Geoworks on the World Wide Web at http://www.geoworks.com.
Note to Editors: In keeping with U.S. law, Geoworks notes that this press release includes forward-looking statements, including the Company's intention to deliver its next generation operating system, the emergence of the smart phone market and forecasts by third parties concerning the potential for market growth, the establishment of a new standard for smart phone platforms, the ability of manufacturers to deliver a diverse product range based on GEOS-SC, the ability for third party developers to create applications to run on GEOS-SC-based devices, and the timing and availability of content and service offerings worldwide. Actual results may vary significantly due to various risks and uncertainties. Those include, but are not limited to, the following: i) the smart phone market may not emerge to the degree or in the timing anticipated; ii) the Company must consummate definitive agreements with key partners; and iii) new technologies and new services are inherently subject to development, timing and consumer acceptance risks. Additional information is available in the Risk Factors and Business discussions in the Company's Forms 10-K, 10-Q and other filings available from the Company or from the Securities and Exchange Commission.