Late this year, The WebBook Company of Birmingham, Michigan, plans to deliver a Java-compatible Net computer based on a 32-bit RISC microprocessor called ShBoom. The WebBook will let users access the Web on the go.
The WebBook will most likely be priced at about $700 when it ships, said company founder Charles Durett. "I'm somewhere between Larry and some other people on the higher end," said Durett, referring to Oracle chieftain Larry Ellison's pledge to provide inexpensive Net devices for about $500.
The ShBoom chipset will give the WebBook systems high performance at low cost, company officials said. ShBoom is produced by Patriot Scientific Corporation of San Diego.
Using a proprietary architecture, the ShBoom chip employs a simplified instruction set that speeds performance and provides greater design flexibility. The microprocessor is also designed to use a minimum of silicon, an element that drives up manufacturing costs.