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January 20, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Harris Information Systems believes it has a first in the 3270 marketplace with the introduction of an optional five-year warranty on all networking and communications products. In addition, this month saw the launch of an IBM 3191 plug compatible display terminal, the H-191. It features a new co-ax multidrop feature which enables up to eight displays to be connected to a single multiplexor port on a control unit – it doesn’t increase the number of displays on a 3274-type controller but it cuts the connection costs. Without, terminals have to be individually connected to the control unit via expensive co-ax cable or up to eight can be attached to a multiplexor which is in turn plugged into the controller. Harris has made multidrop possible by including a chip that acts like a multiplexor in each terminal. Up to four multidrop groups can be supported by a 32 device unit. The H-191 – with a 12 or 14 monitor – also supports direct twisted pair with a built-in RJ11 connector providing display attachment options. The Winnersh, Berkshire based subsidiary of the Florida firm also announced the replacement of its H274 local control unit by the H174-32L. It features 3.5Mb of memory in total and a 3.5 disk drive, expandable with a second. With multi-processor design within a modular framework it can concurrently support local area networks, and asynchronous communications. ASCII devices can be incorporated to extend the networks, host data access and provide management facilities. Harris believes the dumb terminal is still in demand since it provides clerical and administration departments with all they need for less money than a personal computer. It reckons an MS-DOS micro has more functions available than are really necessary but reasons that when it costs the same to buy either, then companies will stop buying mere intelligent terminals. It adds that it is not offering a five year warranty in the belief that terminals are on their way out but because it is certain of the quality of its products. And that’s why Harris isn’t too bothered that its screens aren’t the cheapest on the market, counting on the hope that customers are interested in an all-round service – maintenance, support – rather than rock bottom prices. Consequently it doesn’t see the 3270-compatible models of Hewlett-Packard’s HP700, incorporating National Semiconductor’s new DP8344 emulator chip at $695 (CI Nos 750, 819) as a threat. And as far as the merger of Telex with Memorex is concerned, that just means that Harris has one less competitor to worry about; even though it comes last of the three main UK players – IBM, Telex-Memorex and itself – in the 3270 terminals market. Harris says it has been shipping 20 units a month since 1986. The H-191 display terminal has a price tag of ?830 with the optional five-year warranty. And the top-of-the range 32 device controller costs ?8,950.

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