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Spyglass targets NCs, PDAs

Spyglass announces a suite of Web browser and server software designed for Internet-enabled devices such as network computers and personal digital assistants.

Spyglass (SPYG), which creates generic Web browser and Web server code for others to market, today announced a suite of products to spearhead its push into the market for Internet-enabled devices.

Its family of "Internet Connectivity" products is designed to be embedded inside a wide range of devices that let users view and publish information on the Net.

The strategic shift is no surprise. In October, the company announced it would focus future efforts on Internet devices and warned investors that the new emphasis might hurt short-term profits.

"We feel the market for connecting non-PCs will dwarf the PC market," said Randy Littleson, Spyglass vice president of marketing. "People are moving to HTML and HTTP because of their pervasiveness and ease of use. Some of these uses are brand-new, but others are because you can do things better, easier, quicker, or cheaper using Internet technologies."

The company's strategy reflects its view that the PC market for Web browsers and servers is no longer a growth opportunity, so it's looking to new sectors for revenue.

Spyglass said it would create Internet infrastructure software to deliver better performance for device users as well as applications for Internet collaboration and communications, including its SurfWatch content filtering software, content conversion, and email. No further details on infrastructure or applications were offered in the announcement.

Consistent with its October announcement, Spyglass also said today it would expand service offerings to device customers, manufacturers, networking hardware vendors, and Internet service providers. Spyglass also signaled its intent to open new channels beyond its current OEM relationships by announcing a partnership with Unidirect, a computer products reseller, to create a new service, Spyglass Direct.

The company's new connectivity suite for Internet devices includes the following:

  • Device Mosaic: A Web browser that is embedded in network computers, TVs, and set-top boxes. It will be delivered in March as a software development kit for real-time operating systems such as pSOS, QNX, and OS-9.

  • Remote Mosaic: Designed for devices such as PDAs (personal digital assistants), phones, and pagers with limited processing, memory, and display capacities. It includes a view that resides in the device and a "proxy browser" that runs on a server operated by a service provider. Together, they provide full Web browsing capabilities to users. Availability is slated for June.

  • Mosaic, Spyglass's current offering, a modular Web browser delivered as a software development kit for personal computers. Mosaic is the base technology for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

  • MicroServer, a small-footprint Web server to manage devices such as copiers, printers, hub-routers, and manufacturing equipment. Its architecture supports multiple users independent of their real-time operating system. Shipment is planned for March.

  • Web Server, Spyglass's current server offering, delivered as a software development kit and used both for standalone Web servers and for building Web servers into other applications.

    Spyglass Web software code is used by 100-plus customers including BellSouth, Computer Associates, Digital Equipment, IBM, Oracle, and WebTV, according to the company.