Back to the good old days of the Amiga!
Ahhh, the Amiga. My first real computer love. I’d had a Toshiba MSX beforehand, but that was more like kissing behind the bike shed. It was the Amiga that messily burst my computing cherry. One of the quirky features of the classic A500 was that had no hard drive, 16 years later I didn’t expect to be able to say the same about a cutting edge notebook.
Clearly taking a leaf from the past to looks to the future NEC has come up with the ‘PC Parafield’. This thin client replacement offers all the usual features of a mainstream notebook (Pentium M 1.73GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 12.1in 1024 x 768 LCD, PC Card, Ethernet and USB2.0 connectivity) but scraps the hard drive in favour of 3GB of ROM.
This means the computer, unlike a traditional thin client – which runs its entire operating system off a network and is paralysed should there be an outage – stores the OS and applications locally. Additional basic storage needs are held in the RAM which clears when the notebook is switched off removing any potential security of virus threats, though important information will obviously need to be backed up.
Of course, there is a downside to the Parafield and that is the cost. 3GB of ROM still doesn’t come cheaply and it contributes to a heavy $3,742 asking price. In mission critical offices handling highly sensitive data this may not put executives off, but it’s probably unlikely to be stocked en-mass by your average SOHO.
That said, Japan has already received its first batch of Parafield’s with NEC monitoring market response before deciding if the rest of the world is ready/wealthy enough to cast off its hard drives.
PS – For nostalgia freaks, look what I found…