Corel to enter the NC game later this year

Corel's new spinoff, Corel Computer, is set to ship a desktop network computer with video capabilities in August or September and has its sights set on a mobile version to follow soon after. The Corel VNC, for video network computer, will incorporate a Digital Equipment Corp. StrongARM chip, the SA110, and have 32Mb of RAM on board.

Corel's new spinoff, Corel Computer, is set to ship a desktop network computer with video capabilities in August or September and has its sights set on a mobile version to follow soon after, according to company officials.

The Corel VNC, for video network computer, will incorporate a Digital Equipment Corp. StrongARM chip, the SA110, and have 32Mb of RAM on board, according to Oliver Bendzsa, marketing and communications manager for the new Corel unit.

The VNC will also have Ethernet support; a 33.6Kbit/s modem, software-upgradable to 56Kbit/s; SVGA on board; a video capture board; parallel connector; serial port; sound card; keyboard and mouse; and the OS9 operating system from Microware System Corp. and Motorola.

It will come bundled with the Corel Office for Java, due out in conjunction with the VNC. While ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) capabilities may be part of later releases of the machine, they will not be offered for the first version, Bendzsa says.

Corel also has a mobile version of the VNC on the drawing board. This would fit "the network computer profile outlined by Oracle and other companies," Bendzsa says.

But Corel is thinking of going one step beyond that.

"Mobile users are concerned with the implementation of an NC strategy," says Bendsza. "There's something missing from that profile. What happens when you unplug the NC and go on the road? We are investigating how this is going to work."

The mobile version of the VNC is likely to offer the same basic capabilities of the VNC, Bendzsa says. "Assuming that it involves the same functionality is not a stretch."

Though a mobile unit will have many of the same characteristics of the desktop VNC, it's a little early to be definitive about final specifications, Bendzsa says. Basing a mobile version on the Digital StrongARM chip would make strategic sense, in terms of cost savings, Bendzsa says. The time frame for release of a mobile VNC is not set yet, though it would likely come quickly in the wake of the VNC launch.

Meanwhile, plans for a Corel PDA have been put on hold, though not completely scrapped, Bendzsa says. "We could look at any device that extends functionality through Java."

The new Corel unit, which debuted in April, is small enough to react quickly to market opportunities, he says.

Corel, based in Ottawa, can be reached n the Web at http://www.corel.com/.

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