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NATIONAL ASSEMBLES KEY TECHNOLOGIES TO MEET PERSONAL COMPUTER MARKET REQUIREMENTS

Nov 6, 1995

SANTA CLARA, CA., -- November 6, 1995 -- National Semiconductor today outlined the wide and expanding scope of its efforts to provide key technologies that will make it an industry leader in supplying semiconductor content for personal computers.

"Upcoming major technological shifts and the merging of the communications and personal computing markets are presenting us with new opportunities to both serve our existing customers and build market share. To meet these needs, National is investing in semiconductor solutions for the entire PC motherboard (with the exception of CPU and main memory) as well as the peripherals that connect to the PC. Our primary focus is in technologies for moving and shaping information, such as user and peripheral connectivity, multimedia and communications," said Mike Bereziuk, Vice President and General Manager, Personal Systems Division. "We view the PC market as a quantum growth area for National."

"To spur consumer demand, innovative transformations of PC architecture will occur over the next two generations of product. Most of those transformations will be enabled by chips other than the main CPU and memory, giving us significant new technical challenges and opportunities," said Charlie Carinalli, Chief Technical Officer at National. "We're very excited about having the chance to work in partnership with key industry leaders in defining and implementing the next-generation PC."

Connectivity Technologies
Increases in PC CPU performance mandate connectivity enhancements. To allow increases in throughput to other system elements, National is expanding into new connectivity areas, including fast infrared, Universal Serial Bus (USB), CardBus, and flat panel display interface. This move leverages our position of strength as the market leader in SuperI/O devices, with a 40% market share according to InStat.

In the fast infrared (IR) area, National continues to integrate more and more functions into our SuperI/O products. We today introduced the industry's first 4 Mbps high-speed IR serial interface controller with TV remote capabilities. The controller offers compatibility with the IrDA 1.0 standard and the high-speed extensions to the IrDA standard, as well as specifications for TV remote control IR and Sharp DASK-IR. Fast IR can be used in any device that needs to transmit and receive data without wires - desktops, notebooks, printers, cellular phones, fax machines and set-top boxes, for example.

To promote industry standardization and accelerate USB adoption, National, Compaq, and Microsoft have defined an open architecture for the host controller interface (Open HCI). We are committed to simplifying the life of the user by helping create a truly user-friendly, universal way of connecting systems and peripherals. An industry consortium of 25 companies has already announced support for the Open HCI standard.

As an executive member of the PCMCIA Standards Committee, National was an initiator of the PC Card multifunction interface specification and brought the industry's first standard-compliant interface chips to market. The PC Card (formerly PCMCIA) standard provides a user-friendly method of adding functions to a personal computer, including connectivity capabilities. National plans to introduce hostside solutions implementing the CardBus standard early next year.

For connectivity between notebook PCs and flat panel displays, National today introduced a family of display transceiver products that use low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) technology to create a high-speed link between a GUI controller and a display. We are currently working with all the major panel and host vendors and are a key participant in the VESA committee's FPDI-2 (flat panel display interface) standardization effort.

Multimedia Technologies
Multimedia capabilities are fast becoming requirements, not options, for end users sales. National is working with industry leaders to provide complete audio, graphics and video solutions for PCs. We are committed to providing multimedia integrated circuits, leveraging from our leadership position in mixed signal and analog technologies.

In the audio domain, National is well recognized for its Boomer® product line. We are now working to provide a complete PC sound solution. Our product roadmap encompasses both digital and analog functions compatible with de facto industry standards.

In the area of graphics, National is working to meet the increasingly sophisticated visual requirements of the user. Planned products include solutions for both desktop and notebook graphic accelerators and video decoders.

Because of increasing multimedia content, the capacity of floppy diskettes is becoming inadequate. National believes that, for a number of cost and reliability reasons, rewritable optical drives in the form of the MiniDisc will replace the floppy. The MiniDisc enables 140 Megabytes of digital, rewritable storage on an ultra-compact, ultra-convenient 2-1/2 inch disc. National will provide optimized semiconductor and software solutions for the MultiDrive Interface Controller used in the MiniDisc Data drive.

Communication Technologies
Communication technologies are redefining where you can use a PC and what you can do with it. National is the leading supplier of semiconductors to the local area networking market. The company is accelerating the transition from 10BaseT to 100 Mbps transmission rates by providing the industry's first integrated physical layer device for Fast Ethernet. This solution reduces the end user cost of 10/100 dual-speed adapter cards by as much as $100.

For video conferencing and collaborative computing applications where voice, video and data must be synchronized for real-time interactivity, National has developed isochronous Ethernet technology. With isoEthernet, companies can migrate their networks to support video conferencing at the desktop without having to "forklift" their existing Ethernet infrastructure.

Key Success Criteria In The PC Mass Market
The rate of change in the PC market continues to challenge both manufacturer, supplier and end equipment user, and the responsiveness of both PC manufacturers and their technology suppliers is key to either rapid market share gain or loss. More than ever, "time" is one of the primary value advantages one manufacturer has over another. Time to market strongly equates to market success, and with life cycles of less than 9 months, time to production can mean the difference between success or failure of a model or family. In this environment, PC makers must chose their technology partners carefully.

"National's vast experience in serving the PC market with silicon solutions and our commitment to further build our competencies and technologies to serve this market will help our OEM partners respond to market demands and technology trends more rapidly than with vendors lacking the full portfolio of skills," said Bereziuk. "In particular, our internal systems knowledge of the communications and personal computing markets coupled with our digital and mixed signal competencies mean we are one of the few vendors who can deliver system solutions to meet our customers needs. In addition, our flexible internal manufacturing allows us to respond to the short life cycles involved. We do not want to be just a supplier but a contributing technology partner to our customers' success," he added.