I remember back around 1996 when Be first came to the market with their BeBox and BeOS products. I was rather interested in their machines as they were all dual PowerPC 603s. Never before had a company really focused on the benefits of a dual processor desktop system, and most dual processor Intel boxes were out of the reach of people.
What was really interesting however wasn't the boxes, but the OS. An entirely new platform which provided a very effective multimedia system. The backbone was a system composed of a large number of threads and clean APIs.
Be died when Apple didn't buy them (they bought NeXT instead) and Gateway and Dell couldn't ship BeOS for x86 on their systems due to their contracts with Microsoft (monopoly anyone?).
It looks like a Germany company has finally brought back the ideals of the BeOS:
yellowTAB - Makers of ZETA . Whoopie. Gateway and Dell still can't ship it.