IBM will launch a mobile network computer within six months, and is pushing NCs aggressively into the small and medium enterprise sector.
David McAughtrey, vice president of IBM's NC division in Europe, said that a mobile NC will appear in the first half of 1998, with Hugh Symons supplying technology for the Java based system.
He also revealed that IBM will push the NC hard into SMEs, and in the first quarter of 1998 will introduce a system that links the terminals to so-called 'baby' AS/400s - particularly targeted at small companies.
However, said McAughtrey, the NC does not have to be attached to AS/400s and IBM will offer, through its channel partners, options based on x.86 servers too.
McAughtrey said the mobile NC, which is designed to attach remotely to Java-based systems, will be around the same size as current handheld devices running Microsoft CE and will include 'organiser' style software. He declined to say how much the mobile NC will cost.
He also said that in early 1998, IBM will introduce further iterations of software designed for the NC market, including a version of Notes for the platform.
Other software Lotus produces will be "Java-dipped", he said, so that it will work on the NC.
The company is also working with a number of third parties, including SAP, Oracle and others, to provide access to financial software and databases from both NCs and Mobile NCs.
McAughtrey claimed that, while the industry jury was out at the beginning of this year on the NC versus the Net PC, the verdict was now swinging towards the NC, particularly after Intel and other previously hostile players endorsed the architecture.
"If you consider that the IBM NC only started to appear in volume in April, its market penetration is very strong," he said.
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