Printers will be linked directly to the Internet when Hewlett-Packard adds a videotape-sized Web server, codenamed Littlefoot, as part of it strategy for the next 12 months.
Discussing HP's future, Dick Watts, vice president of computer sales and distribution, said HP will give peripherals "smart connections" by incorporating Littlefoot in them during the second half of 1997, turning them into networked devices like network computers (NCs). "We are Web-enabling printers and scanners, without the PC at each end," he said.
Speaking exclusively to 'VNU Newswire', Watts said adding Littlefoot and a keyboard will allow printers and scanners to 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. Chief and Internet technology officer Ira Goldstein said HP is committed to Java enhancement, making it more responsive and interoperable. He revealed, however, that HP Labs only has pure Java running in experiments.
Watts suggested that users will keep applications on machines rather than download them every time they are 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 said the first iteration, Merced, will kill off competitors because will be binary-compatible with existing technology - both PA-Risc and X86 systems.
He closed by warning HP resellers and wholesalers that the direct contact offered by the Internet could damage their businesses. "The virtual supply chain is a threat to traditional resellers," he said.
When asked what HP is doing to help its indirect channel cope with increasing amount of online IT supply, Watts said HP will use Intranets to cut the cost of supplying its channel but only "healthy and alert" resellers will survive. "We will drive down inventory costs as short product lifecycles and price reductions affect resellers and better match inventory to demand."
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