By Kristi Essick
Posted at 4:28 PM PT, Aug 30, 1996
Corel Corp. will enter uncharted waters with plans to produce a hand-held PDA
which runs on Java and has Netscape Navigator for an interface.
A cross between a network computer and a PDA, the yet-unnamed Corel device
will act as a thin-client with no storage capability that lets users access
the Internet and download Java applets on an as-needed basis to run
applications, said Corel.
As a PDA, the device will offer functions for a personal address book,
calendar, and even a digital tape recorder. The applications for these
services will reside locally on the PDA, as will the browser and a fax and
To support Internet access, the PDA will come with a 28.8Kbps modem and a
standard phone jack, as well as a separate connection for an Ethernet line.
Users will also be able to upload and download information to and from a
corporate intranet or database, said Steven Latham, product manager for the
Corel recently licensed Navigator for use in its Office Professional 7 suite
of productivity products bundled with Word Perfect, as well as for a video
software program called Corel Video. Corel is also among the vendors who
endorsed Oracle's Network Computer Reference Profile earlier this year.
While hardware design may seem like a shift for the software company, Corel
sees the move as a natural one considering the company recently began a
massive undertaking of rewriting all of its applications into Java components,
The first of these new Java-based programs to be available are Word Perfect
Presentation and Quattro Pro, which can currently be downloaded in beta from
the company's Web site at _http://www.corel.com/_.
The entire WordPerfect Suite is due out in Java early next year, said Latham,
who said the PDA is really just an extension of Corel's plans to create
The device will be able to plug into a docking station to function more like
a real PC on a network with the ability to support a keyboard, mouse, monitor,
and external CD-ROM and possibly a hard drive, said Latham.
"This is much more than just a PDA or just a network computer. It's got more
stuff in it than an Apple Newton or a U.S. Robotics Pilot," Latham said.
Corel is positioning the PDA for an initial price of $500, but Latham said
that the "price will only go down", citing as little as $300 as a possible
price. The PDA will be available in the second quarter of 1997.
Corel, based in Ottawa, Canada, can be reached at (613) 728-8200 as well as
Kristi Essick is a San Francisco-based correspondent for the IDG News
Service, an InfoWorld affiliate.