JavaSoft's NC software retooled for Windows market

Citing email as the 'killer app' for Java, JavaSoft is preparing a version of HotJava Views for Windows. HotJava Views 1.1 will broaden the product from NC-based software to an application suitable for Windows-based machines and NetPCs, claim JavaSoft officials.

Citing email as the "killer app" for Java, JavaSoft is preparing a version of HotJava Views for Windows.

HotJava Views 1.1 will broaden the product from NC-based software to an application suitable for Windows-based machines and NetPCs, said JavaSoft officials.

JavaSoft is already lining up ISVs to license the technology - two deals are already in the works.

JavaSoft plans to use its Java Development Kit (JDK) for Windows Version 1.1 to bring HotJava Views to Windows. Later, JavaSoft may support Microsoft's JDK for Windows under this application, officials say.

HotJava Views is what JavaSoft has termed a "webtop" - a task-centered user interface with one-button links to email, calendar and name directories, and the Web.

Version 1.0 of the product already provides the GUI for JavaSoft's Java PC, which essentially converts a desktop system to an NC. But officials at JavaSoft believe that the platform independence of Java makes HotJava Views ideal for email on traditional systems, as well.

JavaSoft officials said the application can solve the problem of integration, not just with different tasks, but across mixed systems.

"It's the killer app. If users have an e-mail client that runs on any platform, it'd be a great thing," says Carole Amos, product line manager for Java application products at JavaSoft, in Mountain View, California. "Tears would come to their eyes. It's such a simple thing to get done, but it never gets done."

JavaSoft is far from alone in chasing the promise of interoperability. More-established players in the messaging market are already pitching versions of their mail clients rewritten in Java for Windows machines, as well as Java-based productivity applets. For example, Lotus is preparing to ship both Lotus Mail - Java Edition and the Kona applets - this quarter.

But despite the benefits, reception of the Java mail systems has so far been lukewarm, according to analysts watching the product.

"We're still - and we've been saying this for a while - in `wait-and-see' mode," says Mark Levitt, an analyst with International Data. "I still see the applications as being limited to NCs."

HotJava Views 1.1 is expected to enter beta testing later this summer, with availability slated for later this year.

JavaSoft, a division of Sun Microsystems, is at http://www.javasoft.com/.

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