David Pierce writes for The Verge about how the 70mm print film version of Oppenheimer runs on decades old portable technology — a Palm device. To be even more specific, it runs on an emulation of a Palm device.
The obvious question here is, why in the world would IMAX still run its systems on a 21-year-old device? And why, when faced with the need to update it, would it choose to simply emulate said 21-year-old device on a crappy Windows tablet? Other QTRU systems have a controller built into the machine itself, which seems better in every imaginable way. For IMAX, like so many other companies that rely on generations-old technology, the answer is simple: it works. And it’s not like it’s a booming industry in need of reinvention. There are only 30 theaters worldwide that can even show a full 70mm print like Oppenheimer, 19 of them in the US. Most IMAX experiences are digital now, like most moviegoing experiences in general.
Like stories of huge banking systems running on COBOL, this just hits a sweet spot for me. Older technology that just works can still supplant some of the most recent innovations.