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Development Agreement With Oracle Results In Quick-To-Market Devices

SAN FRANCISCO, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Acorn Computer Group plc of Cambridge, England today announced it will be among the first to organize the manufacture and distribution of Network Computers, the low cost Internet machines which Oracle has been promoting as the new wave of computing to follow on from the personal computer. Products based on the reference designs, produced for Oracle by Acorn, have been publicly demonstrated by Larry Ellison in San Francisco and Amsterdam and will be available as soon as September of 1996. The announcement, made at an Oracle press conference, comes just four months after Acorn entered into an agreement with Oracle to develop references designs for a range of easy-to-use, low cost computing devices based upon open Internet standards.

Acorn is able to bring the Acorn Network Computer to market quickly by capitalizing on its work with sister company Advanced RISC Machines Ltd in creating chips for low cost interactive TV devices, such as set-top boxes. These devices share many common features with the Network Computer, such as the use of networks and sophisticated graphics from a low cost chip set. Furthermore, these devices do not depend on local storage of information. Instead, the user's information is stored on a network of servers. This approach cuts out the need for expensive data storage devices within each machine and greatly helps to simplify the design of the device and thus its cost.

"For years Acorn has been focusing its efforts on making the benefits of computing technology more widely accessible", said Malcolm Bird, Chief Executive of Acorn's Network Computing Division. "The whole industry has been slowly heading in this direction, and finally we are entering the fourth wave of computing. We've gone from the mainframe, to the minicomputer, to the PC and now the Network Computer, with each wave costing less, being easier to use, and offering access to more and more people. Ellison's vision is one we fully believe in as the next step towards reaching the general consumer, and we're aiming to make it happen as quickly and as simply as we can."

Acorn has garnered extensive user feedback and early reaction to the functionality offered by such a device through its leadership of the Cambridge Interactive Television Trial running since 1994 in Cambridge, England. Trial participants have recently been hooked up to the World Wide Web through their TV sets. Making use of a broadband network, these participants have been able to launch video and CD-quality audio from their favorite Web sites. Using technology developed by Acorn, including anti-twittering and anti-aliasing of text for a stable display on TV, the trial set-top boxes and forthcoming Network Computers offer good quality viewing of the Internet at a low cost.

The Network Computer is almost a one chip computer

Acorn, which owns a 43% share holding of ARM Ltd, has made use of its experience in producing high performance, low cost RISC-based computer products to quickly bring the Internet appliances to fruition. The current network computing devices developed by Acorn are based on the ARM7500FE, a fully integrated RISC processor, video and I/O controller offering much of the functionality of a Network Computer on a single chip. The ARM7500 has earned global acceptance as a low cost source of powerful digital intelligence. The processor's high-speed and cost-effective, low-power design make it ideally suited for the Network Computer environment.

Acorn Computer Group plc is one of the leading groups of high technology innovators and suppliers in the world. Within the group Acorn has expertise in the development and marketing of advanced technology products, services and licenses which exploit emerging world standards in interactive multimedia, from Internet to broadband digital iTV.

Acorn's home page on the World Wide Web can be accessed at: .

NOTE: Acorn, the Acorn device, and Acorn Networking Computing are trademarks or registered trademarks of Acorn Computer Group plc. All other brand names mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders, and are hereby acknowledged.
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/CONTACT: Kevin Coleman of Acorn Computer Group, in London, 011-44-1223-725-005, or ; or Julie Plimpton, , or Tim Dyson,, of Text 100 Corp., 206-443-8004/

CO: Acorn Computer Group plc; Oracle; Advanced RISC Machines Ltd ST: California IN: CPR SU:

DS-JL -- SEM004 -- 0367 05/20/96 13:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 20, 1996

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