IBM Corp’s next version of OS/2, the one code-named Warp and set for launch next month, will include Internet access capabilities. IBM claims this will make Warp the first personal computer operating system to deliver complete access to the Internet when it ships, ahead of Microsoft Corp’s Windows95, which is not due until the first half of 1995. Warp will include TCP/IP communications software, Internet access utilities such as Gopher, File Transfer Protocol and Telnet, and advanced electronic mail capabilities, says the company. It is to provide one-button access to IBM Global Network, managed by the Advantis partnership formed between IBM and Sears Roebuck & Co, although users will be able to choose other providers at their discretion. To surf the Internet, users click the Internet folder, which will initiate a one-time registration process, and connect them with the IBM Global Network via the Serial Line Interconnect Protocol, says IBM. Warp users will also get 10 hours of connect time free as an introductory offer. Once users log on, they will be greeted by a menu page with icons representing the ‘best of the Net’, including the World Wide Web. IBM also has plans for a graphical Web browser, WebExplorer, to be integrated into the operating system.
Instead of using network addresses and commands, users will be able to move through the Internet using a common graphical interface, which integrates services such as Gopher, Telnet and File Transfer Protocol, says the company. However, users that do not want to use the WebExplorer can still have direct access to these Internet access functions via individual icons. The WebExplorer beta release will be made available to Warp users via an electronic download in the next several weeks, and be available to Warp users later this year. Warp also features electronic mail capabilities using IBM’s UltiMail product. IBM claims that the advantage of this is that it is not limited by text, as UltiMail enables bit-mapped pictures and animated graphics to be sent. The company further claims users will be able to send and receive mail from anyone through the Internet, including users on CompuServe, MCI Mail, IBM Mail Exchange, Prodigy and American On-Line. Finally, the offering will also feature OS/2 NewsReader. By clicking on the NewsReader icon, users will get an alphabetical list of Internet news groups, says IBM. According to the company, this will allow users to select only the news they want – effectively creating a personalised electronic newspaper. The first Warp releases are scheduled to ship next month; no pricing details yet.
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