Notebook computer company Toshiba has pre-empted the US Compaq Corporation by launching an NC, even though the intro is in Japan only.
Toshiba will introduce a line of network computers called Confolio, as well as software and services that should help to integrate these devices with existing networks this week. Compaq has always denied it will introduce NCs, even though two weeks ago it licensed Citrix technology without an apparent platform to go to.
The Confolio range will initially consist of two desktop systems and two mobile devices. All will use the StrongARM SA-1100 processor from Digital, running Sun subsidiary JavaSoft?s JavaOS operating system (which includes a Java Virtual Machine).
The desktops, called Confolio 700 and 700E, will use a 233 MHz version of the Digital StrongARM chip and will come with 16 and 32 MB of Ram, respectively. The mobile units, the Confolio 300S and 300SH, will have a slower, 200 Mhz chip and will be equipped with 10,4 inch DSTN-screens. They will be in a B5 subnotebook form factor. The 300SH will come with 32 MB of RAM and a 810 MB hard disk.
The Confolio desktops will ship to the Japanese market in December, with the mobile units following a month later. Toshiba says it does not currently have plans to introduce the NC products to European or US markets. However, according to some reports company officials have indicated that they do hope to begin selling the devices in Europe at some later stage, possibly late next year.
Toshiba says it is also working on a set of Java-based middleware products that will run on Windows NT and Sun Solaris servers. These will include tools to let NCs access relational databases over the World Wide Web, as well as a 3270 emulation tool to access host-based applications. Toshiba will also be integrating its NC offering with existing software such as Netscape SuiteSpot.
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