Intel has signed a joint venture with IBM to develop a Java based operating system for Intel's thin client specification, the Lean Client.
The deal follows Intel's pact last month with terminal maker NCD to manufacture and enhance the Lean Client would-be standard.
IBM will bring an operating system based on Java OS to Intel's machine, which provides a third thin client option alongside the Oracle based network computer and the Microsoft Windows Based Terminal. The Lean Client is a cross between the two, using Intel chips like the WBT but Java software like the NC.
Intel now has the weight of IBM - which also backs the NC - behind what is essentially a new industry platform, using cut-down versions of the Pentium processor to power the machines.
Java OS for Business, announced at Java One in the US last month, is intended to be a standard implementation optimised for the NC platform, and its adoption is a further indication that Intel is now taking NCs seriously. IBM said it will ship the Intel based NCs later on in the year.
IBM's Lotus unit will write software applications for the Intel-IBM thin client platform but the Lean Client will face intense competition from Microsoft's Windows Based Terminals, especially now the server software, Windows Terminal Server, is shipping soon for NT (see Newswire 23 April).
Intel took a share in NCD earlier this spring, but the company is not committing to a single camp, also designing hardware and enhanced system software using the Microsoft design.
Windows Based Terminal prototypes are expected to be available in the next 30 days or so, with volume machines available in the second half of this year. The Lean Client is likely to be slightly behind this schedule.
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