Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Thin Client Notebooks

Neoware m100 mobile thin client notebookOn HP announced 1 October 2007, it had acquired Neoware Inc, maker of thin client computers and software. Neoware's latest product is the Neoware m100 mobile thin client notebook. This might indicate a trend to diskless laptops.

The Neoware m100 is unusual for a diskless notebook due to its size and weight. With a 15-inch screen and weighing 2.5 kg it is much larger and heavier than the subnotebook computers such as the 7 inch screen .89 kg ASUS Eee PC. The M100 is essentially a 15 inch laptop with the disk drive replaced with Flash RAM.

Thin client computers have not been seen as glamorous ICT: they are bought to save money in call centers and the like, but not for executive offices (where perhaps they are needed more). diskless notebooks have also not been see as glamorous, being mostly quirky subnotebooks with cramped keyboards for low cost computers used in education. It will be interesting to see if notebook thin clients make the transition to high status items, being small and sleek, one step up from a smart phone. However, the m100 will not help that trend being a dull looking generic large notebook.

Like other thin client makers, Neoware offer Linux, Windows CE and Windows XPe operating systems. They also offer host software to manage the clients. Windows XP Embedded (XPe), is an embedded version of Windows XP adapted for small computers. Windows CE is an operating system designed for smart phones and PDAs> While it has a Microsoft Windows like user interface, Windows XP applications are not compatible with Windows CE. Higher performance thin clients used for running desktop applications will use the Windows XPe (or Linux) and lower performance ones, used for point of sale and the like, will use Windows CE (or an embedded Linux).

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