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Gateway to unveil Linux-based AOL box Friday

Net appliance to support HomePNA home networking system

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Gateway will take the wraps off its Transmeta-based, AOL-oriented Net appliance tomorrow, company sources have claimed.

The announcement will follow today's alliance between Gateway and chip-maker Broadcom, which will see the duo co-develop systems capable of pumping streamed digital audio and video content to a variety of consumer electronics devices, such as TVs, PCs and (hint, hint) Internet appliances.

The Broadcom deal essentially means Gateway will support the chip company's phone network chipset, which allows devices to communicate across a home's phone cabling. The Broadcom solution is based on the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) specification. Gateway home-oriented PCs already contain Broadcom's chips.

Gateway sources, cited by CNet, said HomePNA would form the basis of the company's wired home strategy, of which its Net appliance will be a key component.

The plan is to promote a vision of homes connected to the Net through a single point but shared by a variety of devices aimed at different users.

The Net appliance was one of the first devices to support Transmeta's low-power, x86-compatible Crusoe CPU, and was announced earlier this year, in April. Gateway, of course, used to own Amiga, which it offloaded nearly a year ago. Before the sale, Amiga's focus was on the development of a software infrastructure for devices such as Gateway's Net appliance. At this stage, it's not clear whether any Amiga technology is present in the system. Its operating system is Linux, according to AOL, running an Netscape-derived, AOL-developed Web browser, codenamed Gecko. ®

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