Japanese manufacturer Hitachi and SGS-Thomson of France have teamed up in a plan to make high speed chips aimed at the growing consumer market.
The deal means that the companies will create a 64-bit microprocessor which will find its place in set-top boxes, handheld computers, and even in motor cars.
SGS-Thomson already has an agreement with IBM Microelectronics to make set-top boxes and the Hitachi agreement is part of the same deal.
While Intel holds a dominant position in PC processors, its grip on the embedded market is far weaker and many chipmakers see this as a key market for expansion.
At the Comdex/Fall show last month, Intel showed for the first time the Pentium II in a car but its rival, Motorola, still owns the lion's share of the worldwide embedded chip market. Further, Advanced Risc Machines (ARM) has made considerable inroads into this sector over the past year.
According to marketing director Peter Magowan, its low heat, high performance Risc processor will be in the majority of vehicles by 2000.
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