Hewlett-Packard printers will be linked directly to the Internet within the next 12 months, the company said last week.
Dick Watts, vice president of computer sales and distribution at HP, said the company will be giving its peripherals "smart connections" by incorporating a videotape-sized Web server, codenamed Littlefoot, during the second half of 1997. This will effectively turn them into networked devices like network computers (NCs). "We are Web-enabling printers and scanners, without the PC at each end," said Watts.
Watts told the press that by adding Littlefoot and a keyboard, printers and scanners could become online devices. "A scanned page could then be put directly onto a Web page, without a PC, or printers could print directly from the Web," he said. Littlefoot is a Java server that runs VX Works and can be battery powered.
Watts also revealed that HP plans to use Java to defeat Sun by running Java faster than any other vendor. The company's chief Internet technology officer, Ira Goldstein, said HP was committed to enhancing Java, making it more responsive and interoperable. However, he revealed HP Labs has pure Java running only in experiments.
Watts went on to suggest users would keep applications on machines rather than download them every time they neede to be used. "We make the fastest JIT (just-in-time) Java compiler but we are developing a regular Java compiler, Turbo J," he said. In testing, Turbo J offered performance between two and seven times the speed of JIT, depending on the benchmark used, he claimed.
On HP and Intel's collaboration on IA-64 chip development, Watts claimed the first iteration, Merced, will kill off competitors because it will be binary-compatible with existing technology - both PA-Risc and X86 systems.
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