Network computing devices from Sun based on a dedicated processor are unlikely to hit the light of day until the end of last year.
The company announced its picoJava chip last week, a dedicated Risc device which Sun claims will run 20 times faster than the Intel x.86 family. But the chips, which will be built at LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung and NEC fabs, and intended for use in dedicated Sun NC machines, will not enter into volume production until next year.
Sun chief executive Scott McNealy told the Bloomberg Forum, a US conference last Friday, that the combination of the microprocessor and Sun's Java language robbed Intel's Pentium processor of any "inherent advantage" over other architectures. Sun's chip will work in set-top boxes, computers and telephones and will cost under $50.
McNealy has come down firmly on the side of the network computer, a stripped-down device that downloads software from the Internet when required rather than storing it, as the personal computer of the future. He claimed the current PC environment is "just incredibly inefficient, ineffective and creates a world of activity and not productivity. It's very similar to giving everybody their own telephone switch and asking them to program the switch, load their own software, back up and configure the switch and then make a phone call to someone else who has programmed their own switch."
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