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October 7, 1998

HP COMMITS TO USE STRONGARM FOR HANDHELDS

By CBR Staff Writer

Hewlett-Packard Co is to use Intel Corp’s StrongARM chip for its next generation of handheld computing products, the company said yesterday. Its current Windows CE-based 660LX palmtop devices, which have done well in the market, use Hitachi Ltd’s SH-3 RISC chip. The announcement came as Intel extended the functionality of its SA-1100 low power consumption part for handhelds by adding a companion chip add-on part, the SA-1101. The 1101 is Intel’s first companion chip for the StrongARM, though third parties have already developed them. Companion chips access the host processor through the system bus with no glue logic, and are a quicker method of extending functionality than the ideal full-scale integration on a single chip. More companions are on the horizon. HP would reveal no further details about the next level of handheld computing products that will use the parts. Last month HP went to ARM Ltd to license ARM RISC cores for use as the basis of application specific integrated circuits in HP products (CI No 3,501). Intel’s SA-1100 StrongARM consumes a third of a watt of power at 190MHz, and supports Windows CE, OS/9, pSOS+, Inferno, JavaOS, Epoch32 and VxWorks operating systems. The new companion chip adds support for Universal Serial Bus, dual mode operation for simultaneous use of handheld and high resolution projection screens, and I/O functionality. The cost is $33 for the SA-1100, and $21 for the SA-1101 companion chip, both in quantities of 10,000. They are available now. Ron Smith, the corporate VP and general manager of Intel’s Computing Enhancement Group, will be clarifying Intel’s embedded systems strategy – which still includes Intel’s own i960 processor line – at next week’s Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California, along with new StrongARM and i960 products.

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