Data General has said it is planning a wireless touch-screen device that will withstand the knocks and blows of the workplace.
Next month DG will launch the WiinPad, a CE-based flashfile device (without a hard disk), powered by a Motorola Power PC 50MHz chip, with an 8in diagonal LCD full-colour display and a built-in image scanner that can scan bar codes or take greyscale pictures.
DG last week showed PC Week the only prototype of the WiinPad in Europe.
It is aimed at the health care, retail and logistics markets. The prototype has been built to surpass the industry standard of five drops to a concrete floor from 4ft and has sufficient battery life to last an eight-hour shift.
The WiinPad comes with a base station and can be used with a keyboard as a thin client terminal. Future generations will have a virtual keyboard on the touch screen.
"It's a workflow tool, not something to be carried around in a briefcase," said Nigel Ifill, DG's product marketing manager and head of European special systems.
Ifill said WiinPad would be the first product of its type on the market, but it wouldn't be long before similar products from other vendors arrive.
"It's ahead of a crowd of products," he said.
DG executives were in town last week talking to corporate users about its new vision for NT - the five-tier model. They said the three-tier NT model - client, application server and relational database - is plagued with bandwidth issues. When more than 200 concurrent clients try to access the application server layer, a bottleneck results, they said.
The answer, according to David Flawn, vice president of NT marketing at DG, is to introduce Cytrix Metaframe and the Microsoft Terminal Server between the client and application server.
The fifth tier is the storage area network, with database servers sharing a pool of storage based on DG's subsidiary Clariion.
DG will announce a corporate rebranding later this month. DG's colour will now be purple. The Clariion storage business will be brought closer into the DG fold, because it has become less important to maintain a semblance of independence now that the OEM storage business to customers such as HP is in steep decline and the Clariion business is moving to direct sales.
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