Info appliance start-up gets boost from NEC

A Californian company which makes software for information appliances has licensed its software to chip-maker NEC.

Diba has announced that it has inked a deal with NEC which will license Diba's technology to use in its computer chips. The Menlo Park, California-based start-up,which is headed by ex-Oracle executive Farzad Dibachi, manufactures software used to build so-called information appliances, devices such as Internet-ready televisions and email-equipped smart phones.

"What Windows is to the PC industry, we believe Diba will be to the information appliance industry," says Joe Gillach, COO of Diba.

NEC, the second largest producer of semiconductors worldwide, will embed the Diba technology in a new information appliance chip which will be used to build products under its consumer electronics division, as well as by third-party electronics device manufacturers using the NEC chips, according to Diba. The 32-bit chip, called the RISC V830, will include integrated networking and multimedia capabilities.

The first appliances using the NEC chips will be available in the US autumn, according to Diba.

Diba announced a deal two months ago with Zenith which will use the technology to create TV sets that can be used for Internet access and email, and is planning to announce other collaborations in the next six weeks involving undisclosed Japanese and Korean firms, says Gillach. The company is reportedly in negotiations with Intel to strike a chip deal similar to the NEC agreement, but would not comment on the progress of those negotiations.

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