Java notebook NC is here

On the day of the debut of the JavaStation, Sun and Toshiba say they will collaborate in advancing Java-based Mobile Network Computing.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW) and Japan's Toshiba revealed they will collaborate in advancing Java-based Mobile Network Computing, an announcement made on the same day as the long-awaited debut of the JavaStation network computer.

Sun will undertake to adapt its Netra line of servers to manage

Toshiba Confolio 300
A Toshiba Confolio 300
portable "thin-client" devices, while Toshiba has introduced in Japan a notebook computer called the Confolio 300, the two companies said in a statement. Both companies' efforts are based on the Mobile Network Computer Reference Specification.

The Confolio 300 is now on sale in Japan, according to Toshiba executives. The 4.1lb-notebook has a 10.4-inch dual-scan display, a 200-MHz StrongARM processor, and 16MB of memory. The portable costs the equivalent of $1,538. The company has not decided whether or not the notebook will be marketed in the U.S.

The duo plan to combine Sun's Java computing technology with Toshiba's mobile computer expertise, said Gene Banman, vice president of Sun's desktop systems group, in a prepared statement.

Conceived to facilitate remote maintenance and otherwise reduce the "cost of ownership," network computing strips the computer of components like the hard drive, removing storage and at least some processing functions to a remote server. Thus one of the first Confolio models comes without a hard disk.

Based on this scheme, Sun's JavaStation and Oracle's Network Computer were announced to great fanfare in late 1996. But the two products have been slow to reach the market and suffered from inflated expectations. In the meantime, a rival specification called the Windows-based Terminal has begun to make inroads.

Today's announcement was made in conjunction with JavaOne, a programmer's conference being held in San Francisco.

Reporter Jim Davis contributed to this report.

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