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SURF THE NET WITH A SUPER-LIGHT BOARD

IT'S A BIT CONFINING TO HAVE TO CRUISE the Internet sitting in front of your home-office PC. Maybe you would rather do it from the kitchen or the backyard.

A novel solution could be just around the corner. On Nov. 17, National Semiconductor Corp.'s Cyrix division unveiled a prototype tablet-size portable Web surfer that lets you get on the Net wirelessly from anywhere in your home. Measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches and less than 2 inches thick, the three-pound WebPad features a color touch screen: You simply tap on hot links and onscreen keys to navigate through cyberspace. To enter a Web address, you use the pop-up screen keyboard. The Net connection, meanwhile, is handled through a PC or cable-modem base station that communicates to the tablet via radio waves.

National Semiconductor is using the prototype to show off its technology. Except for the memory chips and display, every component comes from the Santa Clara (Calif.) chipmaker.

Consumer-electronics companies, such as Philips Electronics, could ship WebPads as soon as mid-1999. They are expected to sell for around $300. Then maybe Dad or Mom will come out of the den.

By Andy Reinhardt
EDITED BY IRA SAGER


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Updated Nov. 19, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.
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