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The Real Small Stuff

Pushing the barrier with your palmtop? You need a new breed of processor.

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This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

While AMD and Intel are busy trying to strangle each other's business in the desktop processor market, another story is developing in the area of portable processors. Analysts have been declaring this the post-PC era for months. PC appliances, from handhelds and palmtops to Internet-only devices, are fast becoming the tools of choice for consumers and businesses alike-and it takes a tiny processor to power a tiny device.

Not many people really know (or care) how fast the processor is in their Palm III or Casio Cassiopeia. But with handhelds now being asked to surf the Net, run databases and send e-mail in color, the power behind palmtops is becoming an issue. For the record, the Palm IIIc runs on a 20MHz Motorola processor and the Cassiopeia E105 hums along on a 131MHz processor. In the mobile processor world, speed doesn't matter as much as power consumption. Nobody likes changing the batteries in their CE handheld every day.

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