The future is thin with HP's Chai

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Written By: Jack of Hearts
Published: 29th September, 1999
Content Copyright © 1999 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

Hewlett-Packard has kept itself fairly quiet this past few months. With a new structure and CEO recently added though who can blame it. This week however has seen the company coming to market with a raft of e-commerce announcements that could have a serious impact on the market.

The exciting news from HP is the delivery of its Chai Appliance Platform, a suite of software products that HP hopes will power the memory constrained, intelligent appliances of the future. To this end HP has repackaged a host of previously released offerings - ChaiServer, ChaiFreezeDry, ChaiAppliance Plug and Play, TurboChai, ChaiVM and ChaiAWT, the last three of which are upgrades. And has added to them with Chai/e-speak, Chai/OpenView, and ChaiFarer.

Chai/Openview is simply a piece of software that enables clients to be managed by HP's OpenView systems management software, which may well represent a leap forward in the management of diverse clients. Whilst Chai/e-speak is technology that enables everything to talk to each other. ChaiFarer however is a customisable and highly modular embedded Web browser designed to enable manufacturers to tune the display for their specific application requirements. And it is based on XML with support for the normal HTTP and HTML standards.

Once this lot is added to the latest ChaiVM 4.0 - HP's Java Virtual Machine - the offering appears to be a fairly robust set of infrastructure building blocks that are taking componentised development down into the smallest client form factor. Essentially what Chai is, is add-ons for a slimline O/S, which means that, even if functionality is lacking in the O/S, full features like Plug and Play can be added through Chai. Its success therefore is going to depend almost entirely on how well HP manages its relationships. If it doesn't convince ISV's to build to the Chai platform then it is quite likely that Chai will flounder - presumably though, HP has already thought of that. So expect some support announcements in the next few weeks.

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