NComputing on Tuesday dug deeper into low-cost computing with the launch of the X350 kit, which lets four users access one desktop PC.
The kit, which costs US$249, includes vSpace virtualization software, a PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) card and access devices to link each user to the central desktop.
"Even though they are sharing the PC, they are getting the snappiness and feel of a dual-core processor," said Carsten Puls, vice president of strategic and product marketing at NComputing.
The kit is well-suited for use in training rooms or computer training labs, Puls said. Through the host PC, users can also access servers in large data centers or network-attached storage.
Thin clients have existed for a long time and the hardware means different things to different people, said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates. In some cases, the iPhone could be seen as a thin client with a browser that accesses software services through the browser, he said.
Many organizations like banks have plenty of resources stored on the back-end but want to have something thin and light running on the front end, Gold said.
Despite the ability to reduce hardware acquisition and maintenance costs, laptops in, for instance, school computing labs remain popular, Puls acknowledged. "Sometimes people are enamored by their mobility," he said.
But NComputing has seen success with its products as an option to laptops in classrooms in developing countries. Last year, the company announced it would deploy virtual desktop technology to 5,000 government schools with 1.8 million students in India.
NComputing's kit supports most standard PC applications, Puls said. It works with the Windows Server OS and supports the Ubuntu 8.04 version of Linux.