Cyrix has designed a network computer specification that would bring sub-$200 devices on to the retail market within a year.
The move is part of the Intel clone chipmaker's efforts to push its MediaGX processor into the corporate computing space, as the basis of network computers and terminals. To date, its chips have primarily been used in consumer PCs.
Cyrix, together with M-Systems and Bcom, will offer OEMs a blueprint for network computers that could be adapted for business or consumer appliances.
It goes back to the original concept of the NC, as outlined by Oracle - no hard drive, with almost all the processing done on the central server. Recent NC implementations have been incorporating local facilities such as hard drives and becoming more complex and so more expensive than originally envisaged.
Cyrix' specification would use a 180MHx MediaGX processor and would provide between 2Mbytes and 72Mbytes of 'flash disk' to store small quantities of personal data, such as address books, on a chip. Graphics and audio will be included in the CPU and there will be 8-64Mbytes of memory, built-in networking and connection ports and an expansion slot for extra networking functions such as cable or DSL support.
The National Semiconductor subsidiary and its partners will target their design at makers of corporate NCs, home Net appliances, set-top boxes, sales kiosks and handheld computers running Microsoft CE.
Earlier in the week, Cyrix won a deal to supply Wyse with MediaGX chips for its range of terminals.
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