Thin’s back in, says NEC

NEC is attempting to breathe new life into the thin client market with the launch of its Virtual PC Center.

Thin's back in, says NEC

The company claims the Virtual PC Center offers all the functionality of a desktop PC environment, but with the security, cost and manageability benefits of thin clients.

Its desktop thin client – the US100 – is the size of a hardback book (155 x 104 x 34mm) and can be attached to the back of an LCD screen, so that it has no desktop footprint whatsoever. The box includes its own graphics accelerator to overcome choppy video playback from the server. It also offers support for VoIP handsets, allowing users within the same office to make peer-to-peer calls, without data passing over the VoIP server.

The company is also offering a laptop thin-client with integrated Wi-Fi to allow remote workers to hook into the network. However, the laptop – which weighs in at a relatively portly 2.5KG – contains no hard disk or optical drive, and is essentially inoperable without a network connection. NEC admits that some workers will still want offline access, but claims that the problem will diminish as wireless connections become more prevalent.

‘Within a few years there will be more and more Wi-Fi, so it won’t be a problem,’ said Jean Claude Tagger, president and CEO of NEC Computers.

NEC says the thin client desktop will offer companies cost savings of up to 40%. ‘It’s both TCO and eco friendly. The lifetime of such machines is five to six years, and it consumes eight to ten times less power than a conventional PC,’ said Tagger.

It also bullishly claims that the thin-client offering will achieve revenues of more than $1bn over the next three years. Training centres, healthcare and call centres are the primary target markets.

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