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NatSemi starts to fab System on a Chip

Halla claims info appliances will overtake PCs

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Computex Brian Halla, CEO of National Semiconductor, said at the Computex Trade Fair today that information appliances and thin Windows clients will overtake sales by the PC in both the office and the home, possibly as early as the end of next year. In a keynote speech, Halla said that the NatSemi "system on a chip" he announced here last year has already been produced in silicon, a month early. Halla said: "I believe the overwhelming majority of productss bought by MIS managers in the future will be thin clients. The benefits are that you start with a low purchase cost but there's virtually no total cost of ownership issues in the future. You get the benefit of very fast deployment. If computer theft is a problem, the only thing that goes out of the door is plastic and metal. The databases sits on the server." Halla said: "This is not the end of the PC market. The PC continues but information appliances will possibly overtake PCs sales by the end of next year." He claimed that National Semiconductor is in a good position to capitalise on the information appliance market because the majority of applications are optimised for the x.86 market. He said the chip, called Information Appliance (IA) on a chip, had already booted Windows 98. "We have the solution a month early in Israel. As well as a Media GX core, the chip, which is being shown on the Cyrix stand at te show, will come in .25 micron technology, and measure around 1.2 centimetres. It includes USB ports, RTCs, Super/IO, South Bridge technology, and an MPEG engine. The chip also includes a number of analog interfaces including TV and CRT convertors. Yesterday Acer and National Semiconductor struck a deal to use the Media GX in Acer XC set top boxes. ®

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