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Network Computing Devices (NCD) will show off a lean Windows terminal at Comdex next week using Intel's spec. But industry observers, ie. us, wonder if this is the last throw of the dice for the NC and its ilk. IBM, which promised so much this time last year, has gone all quiet on its NetStation, while even Oracle's Larry Ellison seems to have kept his gob shut on the topic. This makes us wonder deeply when we hear the grey-hairs in the industry say that the IT industry is maturing. If maturing is behaving like a gang of ten-year-old schoolboys, then that may be true. After Ellison shocked the world three years ago by saying at an IDG conference that the NC is a paradigm for the future, Microsoft, Intel, Compaq, even Tulip, thought the guy was talking sense and spent many many hours and mucho mucho money developing a rival to the NC called the NetPC. What happened to that? And when Compaq, in all seriousness, attempted to sell these doshless workstations to the corporate marketplace+dog, did anyone buy them? And if they bought them, did they feel they had bought a pup? NCD said that the device, called the ThinStar 300, is a CE-based unit which uses the Intel Architecture Lean Client (IALC) guidelines. The product will have an auto-sensing 10/100-BaseT Ethernet interface (should that be baste?), resolution of 1600x1200, dial-up modem support for RDP and ICA, and multi-language keyboard support. It also has two serial and one parallel ports, and two USB ports. NCD didn't say how much the device costs. Strangely, Intel itself doesn't seem to have any clear idea of the direction it is taking on thin clients. At the Intel Developer Forum earlier this year, no one seemed to have heard of its thin client model, while senior VP Mike Aymar told The Register two weeks ago that all these things, including networking kit, "belonged to a different division". ® Click here for more stories

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