As the first leg of its network computer Japanese double-header, Oracle Corp yesterday previewed for its Japanese customers its strategy for network computing at an Oracle Executive Forum. Oracle is stringing the announcements out for maximum publicity value, and only a few extra details about the actual network computers were released prior to the launch during Larry Ellison’s keynote Oracle Open World today. In place of Ellison, who was originally scheduled to speak, Jeff Menz, director of product management the Network Computer Inc (NCI) subsidiary which has stage-managed the development of the NCs, wielded a Funai Ltd 133MHz Pentium-based machine, with 32Mb RAM to demonstrate the five main applications which will be released with the Oracle NCs: e-mail, a simple text editor, presentation graphics using HatTrick components, an address book and a calendar/scheduling application. All these applications are stored on the NC server in HTML. Menz emphasized that while the machine he was using did not have Japanese script capability, the ones shown and made available today would be multi-lingual and have a Japanese desktop and permit Japanese input. At the bottom of the NC screen ran a ticker-tape band which when clicked permitted browsing of video or other favorite URLs on the web. Menz said there were eight different models in production, and that as of today Oracle’s hardware partners were ready to ship thousands of NCs. One of them, Accton Technology Corp says it’s Pentium-based machine will retail for less than $900. But next quarter Accton will come out with a sub-$500 machine featuring Advanced Micro Devices Inc x86-compatible processors. The Taiwanese networking company also said it will use operating systems other than Oracle NCOS, but didn’t say which ones. Oracle is marketing itself very aggressively in Japan right now – there are even ads for network computers on the trains this week. Oracle partners in Japan include NEC, CTC, the systems integrator arm of Itochu trading company, which together with Nihon Sun Microsystems covers the sales on Sun workstations, Enicom, the integrator spin-off of Nippon Steel, and Softbank.