NEC Electronics Provides Single-Chip Solution for Windows CE Products

VR4101 MIPS RISC Processor Helps Microsoft Set New Standard for Handheld PCs.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- September 16, 1996 -- NEC Electronics Inc. today announced its support for the Microsoft® Windows® CE operating system and its Handheld PC (HPC) Platform with the new NEC VR4101™ processor, a single-chip, high-speed, low-power 64-bit MIPS RISC device. NEC’s VR4101 processor allows Windows CE-enabled HPCs to provide the millions of mobile professionals using Windows PCs with an affordable PC companion for the time they are away from the office.

The VR4101 device, the latest in NEC’s industry-leading line of MIPS RISC processors, was one of Microsoft’s key reference platforms in the development of Windows CE. NEC Electronics has worked closely with Microsoft on the development of Windows CE, with NEC engineers assigned to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., to provide support for the new operating system.

NEC VR4101 Processor Optimized for Microsoft Windows CE/2-2-2

"We have worked closely with Microsoft for two years to create a new processor optimized for Windows CE," said Katsu Itagaki, advanced engineering marketing manager for NEC Electronics. "Together, the NEC VR4101 MIPS RISC CPU and Windows CE will set a new standard and allow system manufacturers to create an effective generation of handheld personal computers." "NEC Electronics has been a key strategic partner in the development of Windows CE," said Harel Kodesh, General Manager of the Consumer Appliance Group at Microsoft. "The support of a strong partner like NEC will be critical to the success of Windows CE."

The VR4101 Processor

NEC Electronics’ VR4101 processor is optimized to provide Windows CE-based HPCs with a high-throughput, low-power-consumption device. The 64-bit MIPS RISC processor features 33 VAX MIPS performance and 132 MIPS/Watt performance at 3.3 volts (V). The device also provides many of the functions required by HPC manufacturers, such as modem capability and access to peripherals like the LCD screen, infrared (IR) interface, audio interface, memory and keyboard in a single chip. The VR4101 device is the first product based upon NEC’s VR4100 core strategy and is the latest addition to NEC’s broad line of VR-Series™ processors. Highly integrated, the VR4101 CPU is designed to provide system designers with a single-chip implementation in a 160-pin package. A key benefit of the VR4101 is plenty of processing power, with low power consumption of 250 milliwatts (mW) at 33MHz, 3.3V. The VR4101 CPU also offers several power-saving modes, including standby, suspend and hibernate. These low-power modes preserve an HPC user’s work while stretching their battery life. In addition, the VR4101 CPU also offers several advantages as a single-chip solution for HPCs. One unique feature is its high-speed multiply-and-accumulate (MAC) component. The MAC enables DSP-like instructions, so that using software emulation, the VR4101 device can act as a modem chip as well as the CPU. This saves a manufacturer cost, space and power in developing a communications-enabled portable device without a separate modem or communications chipset.

NEC VR4101 Processor Optimized for Microsoft Windows CE/3-3-3

Another benefit of the VR4101 chip is its combination of on-board peripheral circuit interfaces, allowing designers to tie in peripherals like LCDs, keyboards and touchpads, as well as infrared and serial I/Os, analog/digital converters and other applications. The VR4101 CPU is now available in volume production. It is priced at under $25 each, in units of 100,000. (For more technical information, please see the news release dated Aug. 15, 1996, describing the VR4101 processor on the World Wide Web at

Microsoft Windows CE Platform

The Microsoft Windows CE platform for HPCs has been designed to provide the millions of mobile professionals using Windows personal computers with an affordable handheld PC companion for the time they are away from the office. Windows CE provides a familiar, easy-to-learn user interface modeled after Windows 95, works with the Windows-based personal information management and productivity applications customers know and use every day, and provides seamless data synchronization with Windows desktops. Moreover, Windows CE provides a standard development environment that ensures a strong aftermarket will develop for the handheld companion applications these customers will demand.

Development Tools

NEC Electronics is also working with Microsoft in creating development tools for Windows CE-based HPCs on the VR4101 CPU. A beta version of the software development kit (SDK) is available now, with final versions of the SDK planned for release in Q1 1997.

NEC: The Complete OEM Solution for Windows CE

NEC plans to leverage its vast ASIC library, containing nearly one thousand peripheral modules, as well as the company’s leadership in core and process technology, to provide customers a full range of solutions based upon the VR4101 processor. NEC has also recently put the U.S. Design Team in place, which will help designers quickly create semiconductor components for their leading-edge HPCs based on Windows CE.

NEC’s VR-Series Microprocessors

NEC licenses the MIPS RISC technology from MIPS Technologies Inc. Using this technology, NEC manufactures the VR-Series line of high-performance microprocessors. The company offers a broad line of MIPS-based microprocessors, including the VR4000™, VR4100, VR4101, VR4200™, VR4300™, VR4400™, VR5000™ and VR10000™, which comprise NEC’s 64-bit RISC offerings.

About NEC

NEC Electronics Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., designs, manufactures and markets an extensive line of electronic products including ASICs, microprocessors and microcontrollers, 3D graphics accelerators, digital signal processors (DSPs), memories and components including flat panel displays. In 1995, the company ranked fourth in semi-conductor sales in the U.S. The company operates a 676,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Roseville, Calif. NEC Electronics Inc. is an affiliate of NEC Corporation (NIPNY), a $41 billion international manufacturer of computer, communications and semiconductor products. (For more information on NEC Electronics Inc. and its products, please visit the NEC website at

NEC, VR -Series, VR4100, VR4101, VR4300, VR5000, VR10000 are registered trademarks or trademarks of NEC Corp. MIPS is a trademark of MIPS Technologies Inc. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.