Software management and distribution firm Novadigm Inc will next month announce a suite of internet products that could ultimately enable mobile phone users or washing machine owners to download the latest releases of embedded software over the internet. In the short term, the suite, code-named Charlotte, will offer authorized users control of their own destiny in terms of choosing which operating system upgrades, and software applications they want to download to their desktops. Charlotte, will consist of four elements. The first will be a type of software shopping mall, designed particularly for corporate intranets, where users will see a ‘shopping list’ of applications and operating system versions available to them, and be able to simply click to download them. The software will then check to see whether they already have all or part of what they’ve asked for, and send the appropriate software to the desktop; so for example a Windows 95 user wanting to upgrade to Windows 97 would get only the additional bits downloaded. The second element enables these applications to be self-maintaining. Each time the user connects, the software will check if they have the latest version of applications, and download any changes, either transparently or visibly in the case of a major upgrade. The third element concerns revisable content, which includes anything from an online encyclopedia or catalogue to software itself, where the bulk of the product stays the same but certain bits need revising or updating. The software will check what the user already has installed, and send only the revised parts of the product. It will also interface with billing systems to ensure the revisions are paid for as appropriate. Finally, the new suite will not be restricted to desktop computers. Novadigm is talking to mobile phone manufacturers and anyone making devices that include software, who would be able to send software updates and new features to their users over the internet. Full details will be given when the product is launched some time next month.
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