The firm's JexeOS is a PC operating system dedicated to running Java applications on x86-based systems. Toshiba sees what it calls the J-PC slotting in as an alternative architecture to Windows PCs, Net PCs and NCs because JexeOS can run Java applications even on systems that aren't networked. Also, Toshiba says, it means that performance needn't be slowed down by Java being run in a virtual machine mode.
To get the standalone PC support and raw speed, Toshiba has developed its own kernel and simple GUI as well as Jexegen, a native Java code generator that Toshiba says offers 50 per cent faster execution speed.
"Sun and all the NC camp require you to be connected to a network but it's useful to use local storage in terms of performance and in environments such as mobile computing," said Peter Lee, senior engineer in the JexeOS group. "This will run on any x86 PC and you don't need the Windows legacy."
The basic hardware specification to run JexeOS is a 100MHz Pentium PC with 16Mb RAM and 120Mb hard drive. Lee also noted that low-cost x86 systems dedicated to optimising Java are being developed by several companies so cheap Java PCs could become as popular as those based on RISC chips.