Striking back at the rising prominence of network computers (NCs), Intel and Microsoft today released the NetPC reference specification for sub-$1,000 sealed-case designs that run PC software.
The pair said that Compaq, Dell and Hewlett-Packard helped create the spec and expect numerous product announcements to be made in the next 12 weeks. About 100 PC makers support the specification.
Key features of NetPC include: the ability for software to manage all hardware functions across a LAN; an absence of ISA slots to ensure device recognition; and a sealed design so that users can't modify systems.
"The NetPC will quickly deliver what will soon be available to all business PCs: the latest [cost of ownership] reducing innovations in network manageability to complement the power, flexibility and
compatibility of high-performance Intel-based systems," said Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's desktop products group.
"We expect many of the innovative NetPC features to find their way on to other PC product lines," said Jim Allchin, senior vice president of Microsoft's personal and business systems group.
NetPC will be built into the PC 97 specification for low-cost home PCs, Intel and Microsoft said.