PADs are Internet-enabled devices that offer basic features such as such as email, Web browsing and wireless communication. Three flavours will emerge: a CRT-based PAD, like Apple's iMac; a home PAD connected to the wall for email and browsing; and a mobile PAD.
Analyst say the market for PADs is estimated to be in the region of 3.5 billion units over the next few years.
Most PDAs will incorporate the new breed of integrated computing chips or PC-on-a-chip.
National Semiconductor claims to be the first to ship the PC-on-a-chip. Its version, called Geode, is the natural successor to the Cyrix-designed MediaGX processor. Geode is based on the MediaGX core, has less silicon and has additional features such as MPEG 2 decompression.
These chips can be "made to order" for customers who want to tailor the chip for specific applications.
The first of National's new chips to ship is the Geode SC1400, which is designed for set-top boxes. Full production is expected at the end of 1999/early 2000.