Corel subsidiary Corel Computer Corp. has demonstrated its Video Network Computer, a device that combines the Thin Client concept with CorelVIDEO Lan-based video conferencing. The VNC is to include Conexus, a technology that is to compete with Citrix WinFrame and SCO?s Tarantella.
Corel first discussed the VNC over a year ago, and originally intended to ship it in May of this year. The device uses a StrongARM RISC-processor from Digital and has 32 MB of RAM.
It sports onboard video capture and compression/decompression for voice and video conferencing. The operating system is based on Linux, a public-domain version of Unix. On top of this operating system, the VNC will run a Java Virtual Machine from Sun subsidiary JavaSoft.
Unlike many other Network Computer offerings, Corel?s VNC sports a hard disk, which is used as a ?persistent cache?. This allows the device to operate when it is not connected to the network. It also minimises network overhead, Corel claims - a much-quoted problem with other NCs.
The device will ship with a number of Java-based multimedia-tools, including a Web-browser, a set of personal information tools (address book, schedule, calendar, to do list, calculator), an HTML editor and an E-mail client, as well as CorelVIDEO Intranetwork, which offers Lan-based video and audio communications.
Most of these software tools come out of Corel Office for Java, a Java application suite that was long under development but didn?t make it into a commercial product.
According to Oliver Bendzsa, communication manager for Corel Computer Corp., the VNC will be able to run Windows applications remotely form an NT server, using a product called Conexus.
This product, formerly codenamed Remagen, runs Windows applications on an NT server but allows them to be visualised on a client system via a Java-based client component. However, Oliver Bendzsa says the VNC will also be able to work with Citrix?s competing product.
The VNC is now in limited production, and will be shipped into a small number of pilot projects with general availability planned for the first quarter of 1998. The system will initially be sold only in North-America.
Corel is still working on a version that complies to European standards like PAL/SECAM.
Oliver Bendzsa says the device will initially be marketed ?mainly as a multimedia tool, rather than an NC?. He says the company wishes to dispel the notion of an NC as a limited-function device or a simple terminal replacement. He expects the product to be released in Europe three to six months after commercial availability in North America.
Said Oliver Bendzsa: ?In the next few months, we will be announcing further products, which may include a mobile version and a cheaper ?express? version?.
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