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Tech Industry

Java on wheels

Netscape, IBM, Sun, and Delco Electronics are joining forces to create a Java-based network computer on four wheels.

    LAS VEGAS--Netscape Communications (NSCP), IBM (IBM), Sun Microsystems (SUNW), and Delco Electronics are joining forces to create a Java-based network computer on four wheels.

    The companies today are expected to unveil a prototype of a "Network Vehicle," a car outfitted with voice recognition, transparent displays, global positioning systems, and Internet access. The car could conceivably have video monitors for the passengers as well.

    In such a future vehicle, IBM would supply the voice recognition software and wireless networking, Delco would build the displays that project information onto the windshield, Netscape would contribute the Internet software, and Sun would provide the foundation with Java.

    The companies did not announce a timetable to make such cars available, but IBM vice president of global embedded solutions Pat Toole speculated in a statement that some of the features could be available in 18 months.

    Separately, Netscape today announced a customer win, as Houston-based AIM Management Group will use Netscape's client and server software on its internal and external networks. AIM is the country's 12th largest mutual fund company, according to Netscape.