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Image A 'Multimedia Viewer' Enables Electronic Newspapers

A portable 'multimedia viewer' allows the realisation of an electronic 'newspaper' with added full motion video and sound, and points the way to a future fully interactive and highly personalised information source.


NewsPAD has demonstrated the application of emerging multimedia technologies in delivering an electronic alternative to traditional print newspapers. It uses the latest touchscreen technology for ease of operation and as a 'multimedia viewer', NewsPAD is powerful enough to render dynamically full motion video, still colour images, 'infographics' and animated information sequences, as well as conventional text and graphics. Providing readers with essentially a customisable multimedia newspaper with approximately the same portability as its traditional counterpart, NewsPAD also has added functionality, with a speaker and provision for a microphone and small colour video camera.

Business perspective

Although traditional newspapers are one of the few truly global mass-market products, they are essentially inefficient at delivering information - wastage is inherent as they have to cater to the different needs and tastes of a diverse readership. Electronic 'newspapers' have the advantage of allowing readers to choose only stories in areas that interest them, making the idea very popular and now that NewsPAD has shown the technological and economic feasibility, the market potential should be massive. They are also cost-effective, eliminating waste involved in printing and distribution and, by saving paper, are seen as a 'green' solution.

Technical perspective

NewsPAD is approximately A4-sized. It has a 264 mm, high resolution (800 x 600 pixel), 32k colour SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array) active matrix LCD (liquid crystal display) panel and uses a Resistive Analogue Touch Screen for user input. Image Sound is in stereo at CD quality. The processing power is provided by a 35.9 MIPS, 40 MHz ARM 7500 embedded processor offering sub-microsecond response time. It has fully static operation for low power consumption, further reduced by a number of power management modes. System software and development tools include high level languages (C, C++ and debuggers); graphics rendering support covering outline anti-aliasing fonts, Bezier curve-based graphics and BITBLT (Bit Block Transfer) operation; and run-time support for Macromedia Director. It includes a number of I/O ports and interfaces and an Internet support pack is available.


The NewsPAD project aimed to develop prototypes and trial a multimedia-rich alternative to newspapers; the NewsPAD device itself is a technology demonstrator, designed to be ready for mass production. The long term aim is to provide context-sensitive and user-profile deterministic content streams coupled with thematic threading, allowing users to personalise fully the scope of their 'newspaper'.

Contact Point

Joaquim Sans
El PeriĆ³dico de Catalunya
Ediciones Primera Plana S.A.
Consell de Cent 425
E-08009 Barcelona

e-mail (email removed)

Tim Caspell
Acorn RISC Technologies
Acorn House 645 Newmarket Road

e-mail (email removed)


Research Area Open Microprocessor systems Initiative


Keywords : electronic newspapers; embedded processors; graphics rendering; multimedia user interface;

Project Participants
Acorn RISC Technologies UK
Archimedes SA GR
Carat FR
Ediciones Primera Plana S.A. ES
Instut Catala de Tecnologia ES

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