Sun will pull back the curtains on its long-awaited Network Computer next week, completing the last piece of its enterprise-wide computing jigsaw.
After flaunting a prototype dubbed 'The Internet Toaster' for the last seven months, Sun will finally launch a 'thin client' Network Computer at an Internet briefing in New York.
A source who has seen the new machine told PC Week it was based on Sun's MicroSparc 2EP, rather than the dedicated Java chip, called PicoJava, currently under development.
John Ces, senior analyst at Romtec, said: "It would be a brave manufacturer to bring out a new processor, given that the (Java Virtual Machine) software is not yet stable." Ces added that it was a very rare occurrence for a manufacturer to bring out a processor with a bug.
The new machine complies with the Oracle NC reference platform, runs JavaOS and uses Sun's HotJava browser as its user interface. Although Sun refused to discuss the product prior to the launch, the company is thought to have scrapped the much-ridiculed toaster image of its NC prototype in favour of a thin/flat look.
At the event, Sun will draw the definitive road map for the Sun Java Enterprise Computing philosophy. It will also launch a range of servers optimised for the Internet and a new suite of software and services.
Scott McNealy, Sun's chairman, president and chief executive officer, will co-host the event. Speaking last week as Sun announced improved first quarter results, McNealy said: "We are now entering the era of Java computing that features mission critical servers and thin network clients. Sun is once again leading the charge."
Sun earned $123.4 million (#77 million) for the three months ended 29 September, compared to $84.7 million a year ago. Sales were $1.86 billion, as against $1.46 billion last time.
Sun has a coherent strategy, with Java as a central theme. But the one nugget missing from its product portfolio was a thin client. With the launch next week of its NC, Sun will become a fully-fledged Internet company.
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