*****For immediate use November 5th, 2001
NEC Licenses Technology to ESS to Develop Enhanced VR Series Microprocessor System Controller Chips
-ESS-Designed Controllers Provide Enhanced Features and Performance For Digital Consumer Devices.-
TOKYO, SANTA CLARA, and FREMONT, Calif., November 5, 2001--NEC Corporation (NEC) (Nasdaq: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.i) (TSE: 6701) and NEC Electronics Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary in the United States, together with ESS Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: ESST), a leading provider of silicon solutions for digital video, digital home systems and home networking solutions, announced today a technology licensing and marketing agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, ESS will develop enhanced versions of NEC's system controller chips used in digital consumer electronic devices, such as set-top boxes. ESS and NEC will jointly promote the ESS system controller devices for NEC's VR SeriesTM MIPS RISC microprocessors worldwide. This agreement enables NEC to focus on delivering its leading microprocessor technology, while ESS can focus on enhancing the feature sets of the system controllers.
The ESS-designed system controller chips will support a wide range of software and hardware features. When combined with a VR Series microprocessor, the system controller chips from ESS will provide the necessary features and performance required by today's smart digital consumer devices, including set-top boxes, thin client devices and Internet appliances. The ESS system controller chips integrate peripheral functions such as a memory controller, DMA controller, PCI bus host bridge and a local bus host bridge. The first of the new family of system controller devices from ESS are expected to be available in the second half of 2002.
Robert Blair, president & CEO of ESS Technology, Inc said, "This agreement is the latest step in ESS's Digital Home System (DHS) strategy of developing a portfolio of products for the emerging digital consumer electronics market. In addition to our position as the leading supplier of digital video player chips, the launch of this new family of system controller chips for NEC's microprocessors will enhance ESS's position in the market for digital consumer electronic devices where NEC's MIPS-based processors have a leading market share."
Karl Auker, associate general manager for NEC Electronics' VR Series Microprocessor Strategic Business Unit stated, "NEC Electronics is committed to working with ESS to provide a solid roadmap for system controller solutions that are strong complements to our VR Series microprocessors. The enhanced system controller family from ESS Technology will be the perfect companion chips to our VR5432TM and new VR5500TM microprocessors, providing complete system solutions that will enable the next generation of high-performance digital consumer products."
NEC's VR Series 64-bit MIPS-based Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) microprocessors provide comprehensive solutions for embedded system designers. Developed around the MIPS RISC architecture, all of the VR Series microprocessors are backward-code-compatible and highly scalable. Furthermore, NEC Electronics is committed to providing complete design environment support for its VR Series microprocessors by offering a wide range of companion chipsets, development platforms and a comprehensive set of development tools.
NEC and ESS Technology will provide efficient and flexible design tools to reduce development risks and time to market. Tools include development systems and evaluation boards containing NEC microprocessors and ESS system controllers. These systems are designed as a platform to develop and test peripheral hardware, device drivers and software applications as well as an evaluation board and reference design. ESS and NEC will also make available complete software design support packages for leading embedded operating systems, such as Wind River VxWorksTM, Microsoft Windows CE, and Linux.
About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (Nasdaq: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.l), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading provider of Internet solutions, dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its customers in the key computer, network and electron device fields through its three market-focused in-house companies: NEC Solutions, NEC Networks, and NEC Electron Devices. NEC Corporation, with its in-house companies, employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and saw net sales of 5,409 billion Yen (approx. US$43 billion) in fiscal year 2000-2001. For further information, please visit the NEC web site home page at: http://www.nec.com
About NEC Electronics Inc.
NEC Electronics Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is one of the leading developers, manufacturers and suppliers of semiconductor products in the United States. Committed to meeting customers' cost, performance and time-to-market requirements, the company offers solutions ranging from standard products, including electron components, to system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions, as well as customized products for next-generation designs. NEC Electronics also offers customers the benefits of a local manufacturing facility in Roseville, California, and the global manufacturing capabilities of its parent company, NEC Corporation (Nasdaq: NIPNY). For more information about products offered by NEC Electronics Inc., please visit the NEC Electronics web site at: http://www.necel.com.
About ESS Technology
ESS Technology, Inc., is a leading supplier of high-performance feature-rich products for the rapidly growing DVD market. The company is also a leading provider of solutions for applications in the growing consumer entertainment market by providing advanced products, which enable the emergence of digital home systems that deliver and manage entertainment and information in the home.
ESS, headquartered in Fremont, California, has R&D, sales, and technical support offices worldwide. ESS Technology's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol ESST. ESS Technology's web site address is: http://www.esstech.com.
The matters discussed in this news release include certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the timely availability and acceptance of the Company's new products, the impact of competitive products and pricing, the dependence on continued growth in demand for PC and consumer multimedia products, as well as the other risks detailed from time to time in the SEC reports of ESS, including the reports on Form 10-K and Form 10Q. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements.
VR Series, VR5432 and VR5500 are trademarks or registered trademarks of NEC. All other trademarks or registered trademarks mentioned in this release are the intellectual property of their respective owners.
ESS Technology, Inc.
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