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NEC to offer Net PC

Following Compaq, NEC becomes the second major vendor to announce a stripped-down corporate computer.

NEC's Computer Systems Division (CSD) today announced a Net PC product, becoming the second major vendor to announce a computer that conforms to this specification.

The release follows closely on NEC Japan's release of a similar machine last week. However, while NEC's Japan and CSD divisions work together on software and design, products that run on the same platform are not scheduled for release until January.

The Net PC is a stripped-down corporate computer designed to be administered from a central server. It lacks a floppy drive or CD-ROM, but unlike the more bare-bones, "server-centric" network computer, it operates independently, much like any standard PC.

Net PCs have gotten off to a sluggish start in the U.S. Only a few firms, including Compaq, have brought one to market and some companies, like IBM, have scuttled previous plans to market them.

NEC's PowerMate Net PC comes with either a 166- or 200-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology, 16MB or 32MB of memory, and a hard drive with either 2GB or 3.2GB of storage. The computer is about 8.5 by 10 by 3 inches and weighs 13.5 pounds.

NEC's Net PC will cost from $1,049 to $1,299, according to system configuration.