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May 12, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:29pm

BOUNDLESS SHELVES JAVA-ONLY DEVICE; DOES K5 THIN CLIENTS

By CBR Staff Writer

Delivering a reality check to the nascent network computer industry, Boundless Technologies Inc has shelved its plans for second generation NCs using Sun Microsystems Inc’s JavaOS operating system, saying there is not yet a business model to support Java-only devices. Instead, the company will this week unveil its ViewPoint terminal range, using the 133MHz Advanced Micro Devices Inc’s K5 Pentium-clone and thin client software sourced from Citrix Systems Inc. The main problem is the lack of Java applications suitable for mission-critical environments, said the company, which doesn’t expect the situation to change until at least 1998. The previous Boundless terminals used the Intel i960 chip, but the company had planned to use Digital Semiconductor’s StrongARM chip in its second generation products (CI No 3,114). Three versions of the new ViewPoint terminal device are due this week in the same pizza-box housing. The basic Model 100 comes with 2Mb Flash RAM, 4Mb to 64Mb RAM, RJ45 Ethernet, two serial and one parallel port, ISA and PCI slots, PS/2 mouse and keyboard. It can accommodate pretty much any monitor. Boundless says it’s compatible with version 1.0 of the Network Computer Reference Profile. It’s designed to run terminal emulation programs, including X Windows and VT220. The Model 200 is identical, except it’s available with an extra 2Mb Flash RAM. It’s designed to run lightweight client software, a local Citrix ICA 3.0 client to run Windows applications remotely, PPP programs and device drivers, in addition to emulation programs. It’s designed for customers moving from peer-to-peer to network connections, says Boundless. The Model 300 comes with 4Mb Flash RAM standard and Sans slot for an internal disk Boundless says will be used to cache images and help performance of the Java Virtual Machine running in the 300’s Microsoft Internet Explorer browser on top of an embedded Windows 3.1 client. Anything on the disk is not administerable from the server software. It’s not compatible with Microsoft and Intel Corp’s NetPC specification. The ViewPoint Administrator 1.0 server-side software is based upon Citrix’s WinFrame 1.6. Boundless has the NT 4.0-enabled WinFrame 2.0 beta, but like everyone else is waiting for Citrix and Microsoft to conclude their 4.0 license negotiations. Versions 2.0 and 2.1 of the administrator due in the summer and fall will run on NT Server 4.0 it hopes – and then on other server environments. Pricing is $700 for the Model 100, $800 for the 200 and $950 for the 300. The 200 and 300 ship in two weeks, the 100 in 60 days. The ViewPoint Administrator software is $300 per server or $800 for a site licence. Boundless Technologies, in Austin, Texas, has three divisions; text terminals, new technologies (ViewPoint) and distribution. It couldn’t be more specific about its size, claiming to have pared down to between 300 and 400 staff. Bob James is president, Ronnie Hughes is director of software, the company’s nearest equivalent to a chief technology officer. The unit is owned by parent Boundless Corp where Leonard Mackenzie is president and chief executive officer. The company, which still trades under the ticker SRVC of its former incarnation, SunRiver Corp, lost $11.7m on $138.2m revenue in 1996. As we went to press its stock was at a lowly $1.15 and change. SunRiver acquired NCR Corp’s Applied Digital Data Systems terminal business – itself the last repository for AT&T Corp’s terminal business – some years back. Boundless claims a 30% share of the world’s terminal market behind Wyse Technology’s leading 45% share. It claims to hold the number one slot in Europe.

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