Corel subsidiary Corel Computer last week demonstrated its Video Network Computer (VNC), a device that combines the Thin Client concept with CorelVIDEO Lan-based video conferencing. The VNC is to include Conexus, a technology that will 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 32Mb 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 has been long under development but has not made it to commercial production. According to Oliver Bendzsa, communication manager for Corel Computer, the VNC will be able to run Windows applications remotely form an NT server, using 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, Bendzsa said the VNC will also be able to work with Citrix's competing product. The VNC will initially be sold only in North America, with general availability planned for the first quarter of 1998 and a European version shipping mid-year.
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