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National Semiconductor and Metricom Introduce Breakthrough Wireless Geode™ WebPAD™ With Wide Area Roaming Capability at Comdex

New Ricochet-Ready Geode WebPAD 'Metro' is first Internet Appliance to offer a complete wireless web experience and total flexibility for consumers

Nov 13, 2000

November 13, 2000 - National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM), the leading provider of silicon and total system solutions for information appliances, and Metricom, Inc. (Nasdaq:MCOM), a leading high-speed wireless data company, today introduced the Geode™ WebPAD™ Metro, the result of a strategic alliance between the two announced earlier this year.

The WebPAD Metro is a second generation wireless personal access device and a production-ready solution for OEMs. The WebPAD Metro features: the processing power of National's Geode GX1 processor; the wide area mobile access capability of Metricom's 128 kbps Ricochet™ network available in markets on a nationwide basis; and the ease of use, familiar graphical user interface, and rich functionality of the Microsoft Windows CE 3.0 operating system. Altogether, the WebPAD Metro offers mobile workers and consumers a powerful and simple means of accessing information on the Internet -- without the restrictions of clipped Web pages, limited graphics, dropped connections, or busy signals.

The WebPAD Metro delivers full Internet access and compatibility and yet boasts the smallest form factor of any production-ready WebPAD today. The WebPAD Metro is less than eight inches tall, 10 inches wide, and approximately one inch in depth. The WebPAD Metro features an 8.4" TFT LCD display and weighs in at just two and one-half pounds.  It comes complete with integrated 16-bit stereo sound capability, built-in speaker and microphone, and offers headphone, USB, and CompactFlash ports. The WebPAD Metro is complemented by a support and charging cradle. DT Research, a manufacturing partner, was key in the integration of all these features in addition to bringing the WebPAD Metro to market in record time.

"This product is a glimpse of the future of wireless Internet access - small form factors, full Internet compatibility, and high bandwidth wireless WAN connectivity. This is the way most people will interact with the Internet," said Michael Polacek, vice president of National's Information Appliance Division. "Metricom deserves a huge amount of credit for enabling this vision."

As a Ricochet-Ready device, the WebPAD Metro gives people the power to break free from a single location and access the full Internet and company networks when and where they want. Delivering data at 128Kbps, Ricochet is the industry's first mobile information access solution to duplicate high-speed wired access.

"By combining Ricochet with a compact form factor and powerful Geode processor, the WebPAD Metro is a natural for letting mobile users stay connected to the people and information they need to stay productive and add balance to their lives," said John Wernke, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Metricom. "National Semiconductor has proved to be a strong partner in delivering relevant high-performance solutions to the market, as attested by the new Ricochet-Ready WebPAD Metro."

With the flexibility afforded by Windows CE 3.0, the WebPAD Metro can operate as a personal Internet access device or as a thin client in client/server computing.  Under all conditions, the set-up of the WebPAD Metro and connection to the network are simple and rapid with its instant-on capabilities and simplified user interfaces.

"Microsoft is excited that companies such as Metricom and National Semiconductor are working together to bring innovative devices based on Windows CE 3.0 to market," said Keith White, director of marketing, Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "The combination of rich features and functionality along with an easy-to-use, comprehensive toolset make Windows CE 3.0 a great solution for companies developing mobile and connected devices."

Several color variations of the WebPAD Metro will be highlighted this week at Comdex. See them all in action at the National Semiconductor booth in the North Hall, #L3005, as well as in the Microsoft booth in the South Hall, #L4852.

About Metricom, Inc.
Metricom, Inc. is a leading high-speed wireless data company. With its high-speed Ricochet mobile access, Metricom is making "information anytime" possible -- at home, at the office, on the road, and on many devices. Founded in 1985, Metricom has spent more than 15 years on the development of its distinctive MicroCellular Data Network (MCDN) technology. That experience has enabled Metricom to develop the fastest wireless mobile data networking and technology available today. Ricochet has been operating since 1995 at speeds up to 28.8 kbps. The new Ricochet, delivering user speeds of 128 kbps, is currently available in nine markets and is connected to the 28.8 kbps service areas to increase coverage for mobile professionals. Coverage will continue expanding, and is targeted to reach 46 markets.

About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor provides system-on-a-chip solutions for the information age.  Combining real-world analog and state-of the-art digital technology, the company's chips lead many sectors of the personal computer, communications, and consumer markets. With headquarters in Santa Clara, California, National reported sales of $2.1 billion for its last fiscal year and has about 10,500 employees worldwide. Additional company and product information is available on the World Wide Web at www.national.com.


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With respect to Metricom: Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including those related to Ricochet-Ready WebPAD Metro availability, future market conditions, future competitors, market rollouts and future technology, are forward looking and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such statements involve risks and uncertainties which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements.  Among other things, additional competition from existing and future competitors may impact the market.  Projections of market size, partners, market acceptance, technological rollout and competition are estimated based on preliminary information as well as certain assumptions which management believes to be reasonable at this time.  All forward-looking statements are subject to the successful completion of the actions described in this press release.  In addition to the factors set forth elsewhere in this press release, the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors identified in Metricom's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission could affect the forward-looking statements contained in this press release.