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Four companies to make Java chips

LG Semicon, Mitsubishi, Samsung, and NEC will produce Java chips.

Sun Microsystems today announced licensing deals with four multinational corporations to manufacture and sell picoJava microprocessors for a wide range of office and home electronic devices.

The agreements with LG Semicon, Mitsubishi Electric America, Samsung, and NEC will be finalized within 90 days and give the companies the right to manufacture and sell the Java chips, said Sun Microelectronics vice president and chief technology officer Raj Parekh. Financial terms of today's licensing deals were not made public, but Sun officials made it clear that the four licensees will have leeway to use the chips for devices that could range from beepers and cellular phones to home appliances and low-cost network computers.

Sun officials and licensees agreed that versions of picoJava from the four manufacturers are expected to ship by 1997. It is possible to port Java to existing chips for faster market access, licensees said, but less cost-effective because of the need for a Java interpreter. (Java chips do not need a Java interpreter.)

Xerox also announced its intent to manufacture the chips, said Beau Vrolyk, vice president and general manager of Xerox Workgroup Products. The company expects to roll out new Java-based Xerox office equipment in the next several months.

Canadian telco equipment maker Northern Telecom last week announced a similar deal, which will allow the company to embed picoJava chip in its existing residential, office, and wireless telephones due to ship in the second half of 1997.

So far, Nortel has been the only company to announce specific products embedded with picoJava chips, but Samsung and Mitsubishi officials alluded to implementing Java across their companies' extensive lines of consumer appliances and electronic devices.

Sun announced its plans to introduce semiconductors optimized to run the Java language less than four months ago.

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