network computer

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network computer

(1) Any computer in the network.

(2) A platform for personal computers introduced in 1996 that never caught on. However, the concept was valid and has subsequently been embodied in Web-based applications. In 2011, Google introduced a 21st century replica of the network computer (see Chromebook).

The network computer (NC) was a "thin client" that downloaded all applications and data from the network and stored updated data back on the server. NCs were touted as "the" way to reduce costs due to centralized administration and lower-priced workstations. Its major proponents were Sun and Oracle, and Oracle subsidiary Network Computer Inc. licensed the specification for building compliant machines (see NCRP and Liberate).

Java-Based Machines
NCs ran stand-alone Java applications as well as Java applets from a browser. Several NCs were developed, running a compact operating system that was booted from the server along with the Java Virtual Machine (Java interpreter). Using Citrix software, NCs could also function like dumb terminals connected to a Windows NT or 2000 server.

What Happened?
Hyped as the death knell for Windows PCs, the price of PC hardware was dropping exponentially, and the cost difference between NCs and PCs quickly became negligible. In addition, Windows was heavily entrenched, and a new platform was not appealing to corporate IT managers. See thin client.

Not Making Inroads
After two years, the network computer was not making an impact; witness this 1998 column from the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Article headline courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer.)

Sun JavaStation NC
Sun was one of the first to introduce a network computer. (Image courtesy of Sun Microsystems, Inc.)

IBM Network Station
IBM's network computer provided both Web and mainframe connectivity. (Image courtesy of IBM.)

Wyse Winterm
Wyse offered a combo network computer and Windows terminal (see Winterm). (Image courtesy of Wyse Technology.)

References in periodicals archive ?
Dell, the world's leading direct computer systems company, has designed the OptiPlex desktop PCs and Net PC series expressly for business and institutional customers who require stellar computing performance and manageability with their networked PCs.
Dell believes Net PCs will be attractive for specific application environments, such as data entry and remote terminal access, where security, control and manageability are important and the expandability and configurability of a traditional PC are not desired.
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Acer's first out-of-box, Intel-based Acer Power Net PC, is aggressively
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Liftoff complements PowerMate, the Net PC solution for distributed Windows environments giving IS managers unparalleled cost and flexibility advantages.
As previously announced, through our new acquisition, SETO intends to develop and launch (1) a Windows-based Net PC and NC terminal, (2) a 1000 S Web and handset for Internet access with built in modem, similar to a 3Com (Nasdaq:COMS) Palm VII series, (3) a SetoTalk Standalone Internet Phone Device with Speaker Phone and Microphone, and (4) an ADSL modem for multi user applications that could potentially be utilized by DSL provider such as Concentric (Nasdaq:CNCX), or Covad (Nasdaq:CVAD) in their consumer product bundling.
However there are fundamental differences between Sun Ray and network computers, Net PCs or X terminals.
Net PCS Subscriber Adds: (6,300) -- Ending PCS Subscribers: 184,500 -- PCS Churn (excluding 30 days): 3.
Second Quarter Highlights 3 Months Ended 6 Months Ended June 30, June 30, (in $000's) 2004 2003 2004 2003 Adjusted EBITDA $ 7,791 ($12,360) $ 10,434 ($24,313) Gross PCS Subscribers Adds 16,800 42,800 40,400 94,100 Net PCS Subscriber Adds (6,000) 15,100 (9,700) 39,100 PCS Churn excluding 30 days 2.
2 million new net PCS users in the third quarter of 2001.
3 months ended 6/30 6 months ended 6/30 2003 2002 2003 2002 Ending PCS Subscribers 593,068 539,054 593,068 539,054 Net PCS Sub.