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July 24, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:07pm


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp is one of the few companies with a real Network Computer story to tell, because it has been shipping them in volume for a few months now. And yesterday it added to its second generation systems, called Network Stations, with the addition of the 300 series to go alongside the 100 series, which has been shipping since the end of March. The new machine, like all of IBM Network Computers, is manufactured by Network Computing Devices Inc, which has just had its contract extended with Big Blue until 2000. The new 300 machines, which are shipping now, differ only from their 100 Series predecessors in terms of the clock speed of their PowerPC 403 processor and RAM: 66MHz and 16Mb compared to 33MHz and 8Mb, in what now looks like an under-powered first effort from the company. The software is all the same, according to IBM NC division vice-president of marketing Jim Gant. It includes IBM’s own skinny operating systems kernel, Java virtual machine, native emulators for 3270 and 5250 terminals, NCD’s WinCenter Pro multi-user version of Windows NT, which is based on Citrix Systems Inc’s product, and a choice of Spyglass Inc’s thin browser or Navio Communications Corp’s browser offering, which is based on Netscape Navigator. Navio was sold to Oracle Corp last quarter. However, there is no sign yet of the Kona Java components that IBM’s Lotus Development Corp is working on. They were supposed to form the basis of the Network Station’s desktop when they were first touted back at Lotusphere in January. Gant said the work is still going on with Kona, and it is likely to be included, but only as an option in the next series of Network Stations, called the 1000 series. They are due to ship next quarter. The 1000s will be the first IBM NCs to feature the PowerPC 603 processor. They will clock at anything between 100MHz and 350MHz by the time the thing ships, but Gant says no decision has been made yet on what speed chip will be used. However, it is likely to have 32Mb of RAM. IBM’s research and software divisions are also working on its own Java Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler for the new machines, which it likes to call a Java network computer. Apart from the JIT compiler it is geared up for Java processing in the sense that it is a lot more powerful than the present machines – IBM refers to the 100 as its access network computer and the 300 as its internet network computer.

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