Thermos makes Java mobile

Paving the way for faster, cheaper mobile computing, Relay Technologies will unveil in 1997 a product that allows users to cache Java applets to their client hard drive.

Paving the way for faster, cheaper mobile computing, Relay Technologies will unveil in 1997 a product, code-named Java Thermos, that allows users to cache Java applets to their client hard drive.

The software, which will install on client devices and servers, will include agents that pre-parse a list of designated applets from the server before caching, substantially reducing download time and network traffic, the company says.

Java Thermos delivers technology similar to Microsoft's Active Desktop and Netscape's Constellation architecture, but it is ahead of their development curve and focused on a mobile use.

Microsoft's Active Desktop and Netscape's use of Castanet technology from Marimba will deliver Web content to corporate desktops so that users won't need to constantly retrieve applications from their server. While these vendors are still refining their client-side cache models, Relay claims it has met with success in beta tests.

For example, a salesperson could cache an order-entry applet and then work on it while on the plane.

"Execution speed isn't a huge issue for a lot of office workers, but it is much more so when you're on the road," says Brad Baldwin, director of remote access research with International Data, in Mountain View, California. "Another benefit will be cost savings from reduced network connection time."

Relay says it will offer a core set of popular applets by June 1997 and it will work with OEMs to customise programs. The company will integrate Java Thermos with its Relay/On-the-Go Web product for offline Web browsing and updating.

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