A recent development by Japanese giant Seiko Epson Corp. could soon have personal computers appearing in places you'd least expect.
On July 27, Epson announced the development of the tiniest PC motherboard ever designed. About the size of a credit card, but 1 4-inch thick, the Cardio-386 features an Intel 386SL microprocessor, 4 megabytes of memory, and other basic microchips. According to technical marketing manager Bob Porooshani, the device will probably first be used in specialized electronic devices, such as cash registers, that currently use less powerful electronics to process sales information. What's more, Porooshani says that Cardio-386s will make machines not only smarter but easier to upgrade. Simply pull out the old card and plug in the new 486-based card when it becomes available.