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Sun's Java chip trio debuts

Sun Microelectronics, a unit of Sun Microsystems, today unveiled a trio of microprocessors optimized to run the Java programming language.

Sun Microelectronics, a unit of Sun Microsystems, debuted today a trio of new microprocessors designed to run the company's Java programming language.

In addition to introducing the Java chip trio, officials unveiled a core licensing program along with plans for a reference platform program.

Dubbed picoJava, microJava, and UltraJava, the new chips will run Java-based programs much faster than general-purpose processors, officials said.

The entry-level picoJava chipset is slated for midyear availability. The chip will be aimed at cellular phones, printers, and other peripherals.

The microJava microprocessor is due in the first quarter of next year and will be targeted at network-based devices such as controllers and telecom carrier equipment as well as low-end consumer games.

UltraJava will become available in sampling quantities in late 1997. These processors will be used to power advanced 3D graphics and multimedia-intensive programs, officials said.

Fifteen companies, including Netscape Communications and Microsoft, have already licensed the chips, according to officials.