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Acorn Group Spurs NC Clone Market by Giving Away NC Hardware Production and Reference Designs

CAMBRIDGE, England, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In a bold move that will accelerate the growth of the NC market, the Acorn Group has decided to offer its Network Computer hardware production and reference designs at no cost to licensees of its information appliance operating system, RISC OS. A scaled down version of RISC OS was licensed to Oracle to form its NCOS(TM). The designs being given away include updated and lower cost versions of the NC reference designs that were originally developed by Acorn for Oracle. Customized versions of Acorn's designs are in use today by such customers as RCA, Zenith, Akai and NetProducts. By eliminating licensing fees for its production and reference designs, the barrier to entry into the NC market will be reduced, resulting in more companies delivering a wider variety of products to market faster than previously possible.

Peter Bondar, Senior Vice President of Technologies and Engineering at Acorn, noted, "These changes in the license pricing structure will ultimately benefit the consumer, because Acorn will now be able to offer more companies the NC technology at lower costs. This will spur the growth of the market, making the final products less expensive and more widely available to the public."

Acorn is in the unique position to enable an end-to-end solution that includes product designs, manufacturing agreements and on-line content. This will give companies hoping to deliver Internet enabled devices substantial time to market and cost advantages. Acorn has agreements with major international manufacturers including Boca, Wongs and D2D that allow Acorn to enable a true end-to-end solution to OEM's who wish to enter markets quickly with Acorn's proven technologies. Unlike any other technology design and licensing company, as the original developer of the network computer, Acorn can offer customers complete hardware production designs, an integrated and proven operating system, as well as direct access to the engineering team who created the industry's first NC reference design. The elimination of the middleman, coupled with the broad range of technologies Acorn has developed makes it the high-technology partner of choice.

Peter Bondar, Senior Vice President of Technologies and Engineering at Acorn, comments: "This is a fantastic opportunity, both for Acorn and our RISC OS licensees. We have the hardware designs, the operating system, and excellent relationships with content providers and manufacturers. This allows Acorn to be a one-stop shopping center for anyone hoping to create a digital product, or enhance one they already have."

In a further step forward, Acorn has forged partnerships with Curtis Mathes Xpressway(TM), NetChannel and Argonet to provide highly integrated on-line services that are designed to work with Acorn's open standard NC platforms. These services will include such features as managed access (thus providing secure storage space for on-line users), and the integration of Acorn's flashDisplay(TM) technology.

Acorn has a wide range of customizable reference designs and technologies that provide the most efficient means of delivering an Internet enabled product to market. By combining the Cirrus 7500FE, with its low manufacturing cost, with direct access to the NC design team, customers get simple and complete customization of their products when coupled with Acorn's RISC OS. The extensive list of options currently available includes: embedded hardware and software support for Java; Shockwave and RealAudio plug-ins for Acorn's HTML 3.2 compliant web browser; support for 28.8, 33.6, and 56kb/s controller-less modems; ISDN, ADSL and Cable Modems; integration of hardware design with other devices; and digital graphics overlay, including support for transparencies over all or part of a TV screen, allowing a user to watch TV while surfing the web. In total, over 3,000 third party applications can be integrated for distribution with the operating system.

Acorn has already worked with numerous companies to develop customized product designs, including Texas-based Curtis Mathes, to produce a feature enhanced product, the UniView(TM), which has been closely integrated with the Curtis Mathes Xpressway(TM) service.

Acorn network computer technology is at the heart of more Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) NC products than any other technology. This will further expand Acorn's position in the OEM market.

About Acorn:

Acorn Group plc, head-quartered in Cambridge, UK, is one of the world's leading developers and suppliers of innovative technology designs and consultancy. Acorn is at the core of some of the world's best digital technology products.

Customized versions of Acorn's award winning technologies have already been licensed to Net Products, Olivetti, Proton, RCA/Thomson, Semi-Tech Corporation (AKAI), Uniden America Corporation, Wongs Electronics Co. Limited, Zenith, NTT, Samsung, Curtis Mathes, Funai, Casio, Raytheon, ETRI and IDEA and other confidential clients.

Acorn has strategic partners in the hardware server market, such as SUN, nCube, Digital and ICL and telecommunications infra-structure suppliers such as: Alcatel, Ericcson, Siemens and Orange.

Acorn's home page can be accessed at http://www.acorn.com/

NOTE: Acorn and the Acorn device, TVCentric, RISCafe and flashDisplay are trademarks of Acorn Group plc. All other brand names mentioned are trademarks of their respective holders, and are hereby acknowledged.

SOURCE Acorn Group plc
 -0- 08/19/97


/CONTACT: in Europe, Michelle Carney of Text 100 Ltd, 44 (0)181 242 4181, or michellec@text100.co.uk; or in the USA, David Dennis of Text 100 Corp, 206-443-8004, or davidd@text100.com; or in Asia, Masuo Yoshimoto of MP Technology Inc, Japan, 81 3 3358 9800, or masuo@mptech.co.jp; or in Asia, Henry Kim of ConhanCo Ltd, Korea, 82 2 3444 2328, or Henrykim@conhan.co.kr; or in Asia, Eric Chou of Lumax Technology Inc., Taiwan, 81 8 448 8818, or ericchou@mailer.lumax.com.tw/

CO: Acorn Group plc ST: Washington IN: CPR MLM SU:

RB -- SFTU022 -- 1066 08/19/97 12:14 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com
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Date:Aug 19, 1997
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