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NatSemi credit card PC heralds ‘end of PC era’

First products of new alliance to ship in Q4 - then you'll be able to cut your PC in half

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NatSemi has forged an alliance with a specialist 'single component PC' company which could result in PC-compatible devices the size of a credit card. The deal with ZF MicroSystems announced today will combine NatSemi's system-on-a-chip technology with ZF's embedded expertise. NatSemi has been pushing the system-on-a-chip route for low cost PCs since its purchase of Cyrix, and its first PC appliance products are due to ship any time now. But Cyrix has been underperforming in terms of conventional chip sales, and it's going to take time for NatSemi's coveted appliance/device market to develop. The deal with ZF, however, shows that the company is gearing up for it, and even anticipating markets that go beyond cheap, single-chip PC-like devices. ZF, which was formed four years ago, produces products based on its OEMmodule Single Component computer platform. These include motherboard hardware and software functionality in a single, credit card-sized component. According to Mike Atkin, vice president of NatSemi's custom products division, the deal with ZF will "deliver next generation systems that will help define the post-PC era." The first products of the alliance are scheduled to be produced by NatSemi by the fourth quarter. ®

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