Compaq, along with other major Wintel PC vendors, launched its own brand of the Net PC last week, as a reaction to the network computer (NC) thin client from the Oracle/Sun camp.
Steve Torbe, product marketing manager for commercial desktops at Compaq UK, said: ?We believe that the NC is a dead-end product. It doesn?t have the flexibility of the Net PC or the price point of Windows terminals.?
Compaq was not forthcoming about the prices of its own machines, indicating that they would be around the $1,000 mark ? twice the amount being quoted by most NC vendors.
Commenting on Compaq?s Net PC launch, Harry Thuillier, chairman of Fraser Associates, said: ?It will work because it is aimed at the corporate market, and that is Compaq?s market.?
Thuillier also described as academic, the fact that the initial cost of the Net PC was not likely to be any cheaper than a fully fledged desktop. He believed that the centralised control and ability to use Windows 95 would more than compensate.
Hewlett Packard, Digital, Gateway 2000, IBM, Acer and Toshiba also showed prototypes of their Net PCs.
But the general enthusiasm of vendors and their resellers for the Windows-based machines has been offset by scepticism from certain analysts.
Jean Leston, an associate at Ovum, does not rate the Net PC?s chances. She said: ?It will probably turn out to be an 18-month wonder. It will be squeezed to death by top-end PCs and Windows terminals. When you look at the spec, you see there?s a 95 per cent overlap with PCs.?
The fact that the Net PC does not run Java is also seen as a disadvantage, according to Leston.
She added that at the low end, intranet terminals will take a lot of wind out of the sails of the Net PCs.
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