Siemens Nixdorf has announced plans to unveil a new line of low cost computers at Cebit 97 in Hanover this March which can be run as network computers or extended to full blown PCs.
The Scenic Pro Net2 machines, aimed solely at the corporate market, will be the first PCs to conform to the Microsoft Net PC specifications and will compete directly with Oracle's vision of the pure NC.
For a starting price of #500, the boxes will have a minimum configuration of a 133MHz Intel Pentium processor, 16Mb of memory and a network adaptor. They will work as simple network computing devices running Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Users will be able to employ any web browser or other tools that support the Active X distributed component model to load application software from the network.
For users that only have access to networks, the products can be extended to provide full-blown PC functionality by adding a hard disk and an extension box with CD Rom and optional floppy drive. They can also be equipped with an I-talk telephone adaptor for integrated telephone communication and an I-view package for video conferencing.
"Siemens Nixdorf sees the concept of adaptable user devices as being superior to a dedicated network computer, which cannot be flexibly extended," said Dr Pete Page, member of the managing board for system strategy and application software at SNI.
"By installing sealed network computers, users run the risk of being tied into an investment which cannot evolve over time and cannot be ada[ted to the different needs of a users's workplace," he said.
Analysts present at SNI's international press conference were positive about the Scenic. "The price of this product is stunning. I am certain that Microsoft will endeavour to ensure that this becomes one of the first major platforms for a new brand of PC," said Rana Mainee, director of consulting at IDG marketing services. SNI was unable to give details on any potential customers for the boxes.
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