IBM is to license a design for Java microprocessors from Sun Microsystems.
A deal, between the microelectronics units of the two companies, calls for IBM to license Sun's designs for chips with a Java core, and to offer to build the chips for manufacturers of consumer electronics devices, said a public relations official speaking for IBM.
The chips could go into devices such as cellular phones and smart cards, said the spokesman.
Sun has already licensed the picoJava chip architecture to a number of companies, including
LG Semicon, Mitsubishi Electronics, NEC and Samsung.
Microprocessors built with the picoJava core can directly execute the entire Java Virtual Machine instruction set, eliminating the need for a Java interpreter or just-in-time compiler.
"We're licensing the architecture to create a market for it," said Steve Fritz, a spokesman for Sun.
Generally, picoJava licensees get the architecture for the core microprocessor, then add logic and necessary functions to make the core work within a specific device, Fritz said.
Sun expects picoJava chips to appear on the market later this year, with products containing the chips to follow afterward. Fritz declined to be more specific about the timing of picoJava chip production.