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Handhelds get faster chip

NEC Electronics has a highly integrated 64-bit processor for Windows CE devices that allows for faster handhelds with more features.

NEC Electronics has announced a highly integrated processor for Windows CE devices, providing vendors with the ability to deliver faster Windows-based handhelds with more features.

NEC's VR4102 processors is a low-power 64-bit processor based on MIPS technology. The chip can operate at speeds up to 66 MHz. Currently, most processors used in Windows CE devices operate at only 33 MHz. The processor comes with a 4K built-in "instruction" cache memory, twice the conventional capacity, as well as an additional 1K "data" cache.

The NEC chip can emulate a modem using PCtel's HSP Modem technology. The chip also incorporates advanced power management features.

The VR4102 processor integrates support for peripherals such as LCD screens, touch screens, keyboards, PC cards, and serial ports, as well as a high-speed infrared interface and a digital audio interface.

In addition to Windows CE handhelds, the VR4102 is designed for smart phones, Internet phones, advanced pagers, and other battery-powered and embedded applications.

The chip is shipping in sample quantities now and available in volume production in July. The VR4102's price is expected to be under $25 in units of 10,000.

NEC and Microsoft have created development tools for Windows CE-based PCs based on NEC processors. The software development kit is available now.