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National demo’s dozens of apps based on Geode WebPAD reference platform

Aug 31, 2000 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Tokyo — (press release excerpt) — National Semiconductor Japan demonstrated 41 information appliances (IAs) powered by National's technologies at an IA Seminar in Tokyo, yesterday. The National Geode WebPAD reference platform running TRON (The Real-time Operating System Nucleus), a Japanese-originated operating system, was also demonstrated for the first time. Embedded Linux applications were also highlighted.

The purpose of the invitation-only seminar was to provide an in-depth understanding of the Information Appliance Market today, existing enabling solutions that are available, and its prospects for growth in the future. The event's keynote address was given by Brian Halla, National's chairman, president, and CEO. Other featured speakers included well-known Japanese futurists.

Embedded TRON is big, in Japan

One of the highlights of the show was the Geode WebPAD platform running BTRON, a “Cho-Kanji,” x86 compatible open source-code operating system used in Japan and other Asian countries and able to handle more than 100,000 Chinese characters and about 30,000 other language characters. This solution is marketed by Personal Media, a Japanese company who partnered with National on porting TRON to National's WebPAD reference platform.

TRON was developed by the Japan Electronics Industry Development Association and based on the concept of an ideal computer and standardized architecture proposed by Prof. Sakamura from the University of Tokyo. TRON's embedded operating system already has captured more than 50% share of the home appliance, engine management control, workstation/office automation, and cell phone markets.

Embedded Linux, too

Several Information Appliances powered by National's Geode technology, and running Linux as the operating system, were also presented at the IA seminar. These included: DT Research's thin clients and WebPAD devices; Infomatec's thin clients and set-top boxes; and Wyse's thin clients.

Japanese companies are also known to be entering this market with IA products, including: Takaoka, which displayed thin clients; Epson, which presented its card PC; and Pinon, which introduced its compact PC.

National's Information Appliance vision

Several years ago, National had a vision that included the arrival of the age of Information Appliances “beyond the PC.” National is currently focused on three major IA market segments: set-top boxes, personal access devices (PADs), and thin clients.

Related stories:
National's WebPAD reference platform to power Internet devices
Lineo announces Geode SOC support
National adds Linux support to Geode integrated processor
National Geode GXLV system-on-chip

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