Bandai Digital Entertainment
plans to add Ethernet connectivity to its Pippin @World system in a bid to sell the device for corporate intranets.
The device has not sold well in the consumer market and was reportedly in line to
get the ax, but Bandai has reaffirmed its commitment to the product
by announcing its intention to further develop the platform.
Pippin @World was originally developed by Apple Computer and is based on Apple's
Power Macintosh technology, although Apple is no longer involved in the
platform's development. The design is licensed by Bandai and is meant to
provide Internet access in a single "plug and play" unit.
Bandai will equip the units for Ethernet networking with the addition of a
one-inch high Ethernet docking station that connects to the Pippin @World's
PCI expansion port. The network interface will accept RJ 45 connections and
be compatible with the common 10 Base-T network standard.
Connecting to the Internet via Ethernet will mean the Pippin @World can
download data at up to 10 mbps, several times faster than the
phone connections previously used with the unit.
Bandai hopes corporate users will see the Ethernet-enabled Pippin @World as
a low-cost solution for workers needing email, Web access, and the ability to
use training CD-ROMs.
"Bandai Digital Entertainment sees extraordinary
promise in these vertical markets for the Pippin @World," said Toyo Okada,
senior vice president of BDE in a prepared statement. "We have received
positive reinforcement from customers in several different markets that the
Pippin @World is a viable solution for their networking needs."
Bandai claims that a major strength of the Pippin @World is its ease of
installation in the business environment. Users only need to connect the
unit to a monitor or TV, plug it into the network, and load an included
CD-ROM. This ease of installation and lack of user configuration echo the
strengths of the NetPC and Network Computer.
The Pippin @World sells for $695, with volume purchasers receiving a
discount, and the new Ethernet docking station is expected to cost $139
when it arrives in the middle of the year.