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Pentium modem in works

A low-cost modem in the works from PCtel may presage a raft of new communication products that use Intel's MMX multimedia technology.

A low-cost modem in the works from PCtel may presage a raft of products which use Intel's P55C Pentium and P6 processor-based MMX multimedia technology to reduce cost.

These modems will cost less because the complexity of the card is lowered by eliminating a number of microcontrollers and memory chips, according to Navin Rao, director of marketing for PCtel. The modems take advantage of the increased performance provided by MMX to execute operations on the P55C Pentium or P6 instead of special chips.

Another advantage is that it is possible to upgrade to other communications features with just software, Rao said.

Motorola recently announced plans to introduce software-based modems. "Motorola won't step in to this market until they see a huge potential," Rao said. "Basically, they are endorsing our technology."

PCtel intends to have an MMX-enabled product to demonstrate in November at Comdex and is set to ship in January at the same time that the Pentiums with MMX will begin shipping in PCs.