Cyrix Unveils Groundbreaking WebPAD Conceptual Design; Demonstrates Proof-of-
Concept for Low-Cost, Portable Web-Browsing Device That Could Enable Mass
Adoption of Internet Access
(Business Wire; 11/13/98)
RICHARDSON, TEXAS (Nov. 13) BUSINESS WIRE -Nov. 13, 1998--Cyrix(R) Corporation,
a subsidiary of National Semiconductor Corporation(R) (NYSE:NSM), today
announced a groundbreaking reference design for a hand-held wireless Internet
access device, dubbed WebPAD(TM), based on a new version of the integrated
Prototypes demonstrating this proof-of-concept will be shown publicly for the
first time at Fall COMDEX (Cyrix booth No. L6616 in the north hall of the Las
Vegas Convention Center).
The WebPAD is the industry's first conceptual design for a low-cost, portable,
wireless consumer device for Internet access. It allows users to effortlessly
surf the Web or read and send e-mail from anywhere around the home or office.
"Cyrix's unique x86-compatible integration technology and system expertise have
enabled the demonstration of a groundbreaking Internet access device," said Tim
Bajarin, president, Creative Strategies. "This could be the spark the industry
has needed to dramatically increase Internet access penetration into the
Developed by Cyrix's Conceptual Products Group, the WebPAD prototype
demonstrated at COMDEX is based on existing MediaGX(TM) processor technology.
Cyrix expects to have an optimized reference design available for OEMs
(Original Equipment Manufacturers) in Q199, based on a new low-voltage version
of the MediaGX(TM) platform.
The reference design is intended to give OEMs a solution they can use to
manufacture a WebPAD-like device using Cyrix and National technology. The
reference design takes advantage of Cyrix's highly integrated processor
platform, which provides the processing capabilities and x86 compatibility
users need for Internet access.
"The WebPAD is another demonstration of Cyrix's advanced thinking on the future
uses of integrated processor technology," said Forrest Norrod, senior director
of Cyrix's Systems and Software Development in Longmont, Colo.
"It's a proof-of-concept demonstrated in hardware and software. OEMs will be
able to use the reference design to deliver an exciting product that, because
it's based on the MediaGX(TM) processor, doesn't sacrifice the look and feel of
Internet access on a conventional PC."
WebPAD prototypes are the first in a series of WebPAD reference designs for low-
cost Internet Access devices using National's highly integrated platform
solutions. The prototype is a hand-held, battery-powered, 8-inch by 11-inch
tablet with an interactive 10-inch LCD touchscreen supporting 18-bit color and
WebPAD Reference Design Features
The reference design includes specifications for the MediaGX(TM) processor-
powered WebPAD, a charging cradle and a base station transceiver. The base
station transceiver connects to the telephone or network system and
communicates by radio frequency with the mobile WebPAD.
The base station can be conveniently located near telephone and network
connections, allowing users to carry the WebPAD anywhere in and around the home
or office and surf the Internet, read and send e-mail, or chat online, free
from the constraints of power cords and telephone wires.
The WebPAD works much like a cordless home telephone, with a range of up to 500
feet from the base station transceiver. The prototype WebPAD uses 2.4 GHz
wireless communications technology developed by Harris Semiconductor.
The reference design will be available in Q199 to original equipment
manufacturers under a no-fee license program. Pricing will be determined by
OEMs can customize their WebPAD-based products to optimize them for specific
markets and price points. For example, modem functions housed in the base
station could be tailored for specific bandwidth requirements. Or a PC platform
could be used as the base station with the WebPAD providing untethered Internet
The design will support several diskless operating systems, such as QNX(R),
Windows(R) CE and embedded Windows NT.
The prototype WebPAD uses an MMX-enhanced MediaGX(TM) processor. The reference
design available to OEMs in Q199 will be based on a new low-voltage version of
the MediaGX(TM) processor. The prototype has 16MB RAM, 8MB ROM, built-in
speakers and microphone, and dual USB ports for connecting an optional keyboard
or mouse. The prototype does not include a hard drive or PCMCIA slot, but the
design could support such additions if an OEM chooses.