Atmel and Thales Navigation to Build Advanced, Affordable, GPS Chipsets

12/15/2004 - Atmel® Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) and Thales navigation business have signed a technology agreement, under which the two companies will partner in the development and marketing of state-of-the-art global positioning system (GPS) chipsets, sub-systems and associated software. Under the agreement Atmel will sell a GPS chipset solution currently used in the Magellan® eXplorist recreational GPS handheld from Thales which was jointly developed by Atmel and Thales.

The two companies expect that the combination of Thales' GPS expertise and Atmel's manufacturing acumen will allow them to offer superior GPS chipset solutions at ultra-competitive prices. Atmel expects to offer a variety of GPS chipsets by mid 2005.

"Devices employing GPS for navigation and location-based services are growing in number, and an inexpensive chipset such as this will open new markets," said Will Strauss, president of market watcher Forward ConceptsŇ (Tempe, AZ). "And, by offering the GPS chip both as a chipset and as IP, Atmel's customers will be able to develop system-on-a-chip products faster since they will have immediate access to full GPS functionality.”

Thales will also use the GPS baseband ICs to develop single-board GPS sub-systems for integration with in-vehicle navigation systems, and software that they will market to OEM customers in the automotive, avionics, asset tracking and other markets. This partnership enables the companies to work together to offer Thales GPS mapping and other user interface software to Atmel customers. These new products will broaden and improve Atmel's offering of GPS solutions which have been available for years.

The Thales chipset will also be available to Atmel customers as an intellectual property (IP) block for use in Atmel's SiliconCITYTMcustom ASICs.

According to Hubert Canuet, General Manager and Vice President of Thales Navigation's OEM Business Unit, ”Thales believes that by partnering with Atmel in the OEM IC market, we will achieve a substantially higher market penetration in a relatively short amount of time. In-vehicle navigation systems are expected to reach $10 billion by 2008 and GPS-based asset tracking systems are expected to generate $1.3 billion in 20081. Our goal is to exploit this rapid growth and to work with partners like Atmel to become the provider of choice for GPS chipset solutions.”

Bill Gross, Atmel's ASSP Marketing Manager, says of the agreement, “By combining Thales' superior GPS IP with our own IC foundry capability, we expect to play a major role in bringing down the cost of a complete GPS system while making GPS a feature of many handheld devices. We believe this will open new markets for GPS technology and will accellerate the already rapid growth in the traditional GPS sectors.”

Atmel and Thales will be exhibiting this technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV January 6-9, 2005. The Magellan booth will be located in the South Hall, booth # 31256.

About Atmel
Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions. Focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets, Atmel ICs can be found Everywhere You AreSM. Atmel's product information may be retrieved at:

Atmel®, logo and combinations thereof, and others, are registered trademarks, and Everywhere You AreSM and others are trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

About Thales
Thales is an international electronics and systems group serving the defense, aerospace, services and security markets. The group employs 61,500 people worldwide and generated revenues of10.6 billion Euros in 2003. Thales' navigation business is one of the world's leaders in positioning, navigation and guidance equipment with global operations. Thales markets its Magellan® brand GPS solutions in the consumer electronics, recreation, and automotive markets, and its GPS and GNSS professional products in the survey, GIS/Mapping, and OEM markets. Through its joint venture with Hertz, Thales has developed the Hertz NeverLost® vehicle navigation system. Magellan and eXplorist are trademarks of Thales. Thales product information may be retrieved at:

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