Sun releases JavaChip silicon specs
Java-chip machines should appear next year
Boston -- Sun Microsystems Inc. has unveiled several specifications surrounding its JavaChip silicon.
The picoJava 1 microprocessor core, which is expected to deliver up to 20 times the performance of the X86 architecture, will form the basis for many electronic devices by mid-1997, according to Sun.
LG Semiconductor, Mitsubishi Electronics, NEC, Samsung, and Sun have previously announced their intent to build chips based on the picoJava 1 technology for use in smart phones, network computers, personal digital assistants (PDA) and set-top boxes.
The picoJava architecture consists of a reduced instruction set computing (RISC) pipeline with a Java bytecode intstruction set. Since picoJava 1 directly executes the Java Virtual Machine instruction set, software applications written in Java and directly executed by picoJava are expected to be three times smaller in code size and five times faster in execution than they would be using a just-in-time (JIT) compiler.
Beta versions of the picoJava 1 core specifications and core simulator are now available, and the picoJava 1 core design kit is scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 1997.
The price of a picoJava-based processor will be between $10 and $50. The UltraSPARC i-series aims to bring the price of desktop workstations down to that of high-end PCs, said Jeff Veis, group manager of high-volume computer products at Sun.
By integrating more functions into the processor, UltraSPARC
i-series devices can yield workstations that cost about $3,000 in a
minimum configuration, he said. At the same time, the chip offers a PCI
bus interface for compatibility with existing PC peripherals. Two
JavaChips will follow the picoJava: the microJava in 1997 and the
ultraJava in 1999.
--Kristi Essick, IDG News Service, Boston Bureau
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