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  1. Technology
October 29, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

For its latest venture, Phoenix Technologies Ltd, Norwood, Massachusetts wants to make it as easy as possible for manufacturers to build small notebook computers – 6 by 10, small enough for big pockets, and has got Lotus Development Corp and Microsoft Corp to rally to the cause of what it is calling the Companion PC. The kit will include Phoenix BIOS and power management software, MS-DOS 5.0 in ROM, and a suite of character-based integrated applications developed by Lotus for business productivity and personal information management, also in ROM, and based on the company’s System Manager and personal organiser tools resident in the Hewlett-Packard Co HP 95LX pocket computer, as well as spreadsheet, word processor, dBase-compatible database and graphics modules from the LotusWorks multi-function product. In order to facilitate development of Companion PCs, Phoenix will provide a hardware reference design for the integrated Companion product set software. As well as Microsoft and Lotus, Chips & Technologies Inc, San Jose; Distributed Information Processing Ltd, Guildford, Surrey; Duracell Inc, Bethel, Connnecticut; and Intel Corp are supporting the Phoenix initiative. Phoenix will itself design and develop the integrated software and hardware reference design and will provide PC Card system support for the Intel 82365SL chip and will provide its PC Card Manager software to support Intel’s Exchangeable Card Architecture. Chips & Technologies’ crucial contribution is its PC/Chip, which integrates an 8086-compatible core with CGA graphics controller, system logic and serial port on one chip. The UK company, Distributed Information Processing, responsible for design not only of Atari Corp’s Portfolio but also the new Sharp Corp PC-3000 palmtop, will work with Phoenix in developing and integrating the subsystem software and apply its expertise in AA battery-based computer systems. Duracell will provide the batteries. Phoenix will also be providing software options to extend functionality for Companion PCs, including Micro soft Works. The cost and delivery schedule of the reference design will be distributed to interested OEM customers under non-disclosure.

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