Intel's Celeron to power set-top Boxes

Late next year Intel will release versions of Celeron, its newest brand of processor which it developed to target the low-end PC market, for use in consumer electronics devices including television set-top boxes, an Intel spokesman said today. The decision represents the next step in Intel's gradual awakening to the consumer electronics space, to which it paid scant attention until last month. That was when the chip giant announced its intention to license the StrongARM architecture from Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.

Late next year Intel will release versions of Celeron, its newest brand of processor which it developed to target the low-end PC market, for use in consumer electronics devices including television set-top boxes, an Intel spokesman said today.

The decision represents the next step in Intel's gradual awakening to the consumer electronics space, to which it paid scant attention until last month. That was when the chip giant announced its intention to license the StrongARM architecture from Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.

The StrongARM is well suited for use in consumer electronics appliances like set-top boxes and handheld computers, where power, space and memory are limited. It is unclear yet how the two processor architectures will fit into Intel's product line, Intel spokesman Howard High said.

Intel's manufacture of StrongArm chips is dependant on the company obtaining regulatory approval for its planned acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp.'s semiconductor division, High noted.

The company sees "a lot of opportunity" in the market for such consumer devices, he said.

Separately, High confirmed that Intel has halted construction of a US$2.3 billion chip manufacturing plant near Fort Worth, Texas. The plant was due to open in 2000, but now will not come on line until 2002, High said.

Intel decided to delay the plant's opening in order to upgrade it to a more advanced, 0.13 micron manufacturing technology, which Intel will use to produce its first 300 millimeter silicon wafers. The wafers will be used to build future generations of Intel's 64-bit Merced processors, the first of which are due to ship in the second half of 1999 in a 200 millimeter form, High said.

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