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Nov 11, 1996

November 11,1996 -- National Semiconductor? today announced availability of the Web browser and thin-client reference design, code named "Odin", the first 486-based design to successfully shatter the $200 Web browser cost barrier. Built around National's NS486SXF embedded processor, "Odin" provides OEMs with the performance and compatibility of the industry-accepted X86 architecture tailored to suit the specific price and peripheral demands of intelligent embedded applications, such as home TV Web browsers and thin-clients (low-cost clients attached to NT servers).

The combination of X86 architecture benefits and an ISA bus interface enables OEMs to take advantage of low-cost PC peripherals rather than create proprietary peripheral chips and custom drivers, affording maximum software flexibility at a very low cost. "The 'Odin' reference design offers OEMs a rapid time to market with a proven, manufacturable, standard-based solution," said Mark Roberts, hardware applications manager for National's Integrated Processor Unit. "Designers of low-cost access devices can now leverage both the rich development environment of the X86 and the mature off-the-shelf PC peripheral chips".

Along with National's integrated 486-based processor and AT/LANTIC™ Ethernet chip, the "Odin" design includes Trident's TVG9470 graphics controller for SVGA monitor and NTSC TV output, Rockwell's WaveArtist single-chip audio system (allowing CD-quality sound) and RCV336ACF 28.8 kbps modem for POTS dial-up connection. It also incorporates all the features required to implement Web browsers or networked thin-clients, including:

  • NTSC TV and VGA Monitor out
  • Internet phone application support
  • Full Duplex Speakerphone
  • Simultaneous Voice and Data (SVD)
  • Receive and transmit fax capabilities
  • Digital answering machine functionality
  • CD-quality audio
  • Music Synthesis
  • Support for embedded Java applets
  • Java virtual machine support for JavaOS and other real-time operating systems
  • IRDA keyboard and pointer device
  • Support for PC-compatible keyboard, mouse, and printers
  • Expansion capabilities using standard PC Cards (PCMCIA)

The design works with a variety of operating systems and application programs. Software vendors who are developing Internet software for the "Odin" platform include: Insignia, Integrated Systems (ISI), Javasoft (Sun), Magic Web, Microtec, Microware, QNX, Wind River Systems, and others. Because the NS486 runs Java, any Java-based application will also run on the “Odin” reference platform. Other semiconductor manufacturers announcing support for the "Odin" reference design include Rockwell and Trident Microsystems.

"With its VGA and TV-out capability, Trident's TVG9470 is an ideal bridge between National's 'Odin' web browser and the TV display in everybody's home," affirms Dan Sakols, Product Marketing Manager at Trident. "The 9470's graphics acceleration and TV-out technology will give Odin users a high quality, easy to view, graphics/video images on their TV, a critical element to the success of digital appliances like the 'Odin'."

"Rockwell's modems and audio solutions are ideally suited for Internet browsers based on the NS486," said Tom Eichenberg, Product Line Manager of Rocwell Semiconductor. "By using Rockwell's PC-compatible solutions with National's NS486 embedded processors, OEMs can leverage our standard PC peripherals with standard software drivers and a glueless interface to the processor bus.This helps our customers get to market quickly and effortlessly while taking advantage of the high volumes already associated with our PC-compatible products."


The "Odin" reference design will be available to OEMs and software developers through National Semiconductor the first quarter of 1997. For more information on the "Odin" reference design, contact the Customer Response Center at 800-272-9959.

National Semiconductor produces analog and mixed-signal based silicon solutions for the information highway, communications, consumer and industrial markets. National Semiconductor is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and has 19,000 employees worldwide. In fiscal 1996, the company reported sales of $2.6 billion. Additional company and product information is available on the World Wide Web at www.national.com