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Acer to Build Internet Access Devices Based on National's Geode WebPAD Reference Platform

Nov 16, 1999

November 16, 1999 - National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM) today announced that Acer Corporation has signed on to manufacture personal Internet access devices based on the National® Geode™ WebPAD™ reference platform. This agreement brings Acer's state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities together with National's expertise in silicon and system design, enabling Acer to manufacture Geode WebPAD-based devices.

National's Geode WebPAD reference platform presents an attractive value proposition to Internet service providers, cable operators, e-Commerce businesses and other companies seeking to expand the Internet subscriber base, promote online services or increase brand awareness. The WebPAD design offers a simple, intuitive means of accessing the Internet without the cost, complexity and hassles often associated with personal computers.

"The Geode WebPAD platform represents the next paradigm in Internet access," said Calvin Pan, associate director for Acer's Desktop division. "These types of Internet devices have been designed to target the average consumer, not someone with a masters degree in electrical engineering. Virtually anyone can easily learn to surf the Internet with a WebPAD."

The first Geode WebPAD-based product that Acer will manufacture for National's customers is the Information Station (IST730), a Windows CE-equipped Internet access terminal that features a keyboard, mouse and LCD display. The IST730 offers Internet browsing, email service and online purchasing capabilities in an easy-to-use device that automatically connects to the Web when powered up. The device stores email and Web pages in the unit's 16 MB of flash ROM, which prevents computer viruses from infecting the system. National will demonstrate the IST730 in its booth at Fall COMDEX '99, located at L3007 in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"We're excited to have Acer on board as a strategic partner for our Geode WebPAD platform," said Camillo Martino, worldwide director of National's Personal Access Device business unit. "Acer's expertise and reputation in high volume manufacturing offers substantial value to our WebPAD customers, and the Information Station provides excellent proof of these capabilities."

The Geode WebPAD Platform
The Acer Information Station is enabled by National's Geode WebPAD platform, a complete hardware and software reference design for a personal Internet access device. The platform is based on National's low-power Geode GXLV processor, an x86-based chip that integrates sound, graphics, memory control and the PCI interface. Geode WebPAD solutions based on the x86 architecture provide consumers with a no-compromise Internet experience, because most popular software plug-in modules for the Internet are supported. Acer will eventually manufacture wireless, touch-screen equipped Internet appliances similar to the WebPAD concept that National originally demonstrated at Fall COMDEX '98.

Since National first introduced its Geode WebPAD technology last year, the company has been working with key partners to expand the platform's offerings and develop the infrastructure needed to bring these devices to market. The first products based on National's Geode WebPAD design are expected to be available by the end of 1999.

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 billion for its last fiscal year and currently has about 11,000 employees worldwide. Additional company and product information is available on the World Wide Web at www.national.com.