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  1. Technology
August 19, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has apparently called an anaylsts meeting for this Friday, August 23 to reveal its network computer plans. The rumor mill says an announcement is happening the following Tuesday, August 27, but sources cast doubt on that. IBM said last week an announcement is due within 30 days. The roll-out for IBM’s so-called thin client range is still on course for November or December. The products will cost between $650 and $750 without a monitor, and a shade less than $1,000 with one. As reported earlier, there will be family of products, consumer, commercial, possibly a personal digital assistant (CI No 2,918). The AS/400 team at Rochester, Minnesota is co-ordinating the development of the commercial product, but officially not leading the effort. It was the first division to get a thin client ready, and is believed to have been chosen over two prototypes built by the Personal Computer Co. It looks as if the AS/400-developed machine is the basis of all IBM’s network computers. It was demonstrated to a user group last month. The AS/400 team, for want of a better name, is working with the S/390, RS/600 and PC server people to ensure each server is compatible with the thin client. The processor in the thin clients will be a PowerPC, but IBM has not decided whether the 403, 603 or even the 604 will be used. Bruce Anthony, senior technical member of the AS/400 division, said saying which processor is to be used at this stage is akin to saying which Intel chip you use in a PC. As for the deal with Network Computing Devices Inc, whereby NCD will manufacture NCs for IBM, Anthony said NCD would not be the sole hardware supplier, and other partners were going to be brought in. On the software front, IBM is predictably enough heading towards Netscape Communications Corp’s Navigator product. Anthony said IBM is going to make sure the [browser] brand name has got market pull. The thin client will also have a Java virtual machine, and 5250 and 3270 terminal emulation

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