Thin clients get multimedia boost

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Wyse Technology has introduced new thin client terminals, including its first laptop format device. The models are among the first to address one of the chief criticisms of thin clients; that they do not work well with applications that use multimedia content.

Available immediately, the V Class LE terminals are Wyse's most powerful to date with a 1.2GHz VIA C7 Eden processor and dual-screen capability. The X Class, shipping this month, consists of a pair of laptop models with integrated Wi-Fi and targets industries where data needs to be stored centrally for security and regulatory reasons.

Jeff McNaught, chief marketing officer at Wyse, said the X Class fits the needs of users such as healthcare workers who need access to information, but do not necessarily have a desk or work from a fixed location. "Data security is very important to customers such as those in the healthcare and finance industries," he said.

The X Class has a similar specification to the V Class, but is a laptop device with a 12.1in screen and integrated 802b/g Wi-Fi. The X90e model also has a smartcard reader and Bluetooth 2.0, enabling it to use a mobile phone as a modem.

Both V Class and X Class include support for TCX Multimedia, software Wyse has developed in partnership with Citrix and Microsoft to overcome the traditionally poor performance of thin client installations at handling video and audio content.

"One of the things RDP doesn't do very well is multimedia, but customers want the same experience as you get on a PC," said McNaught.

TCX addresses this by streaming such content directly to the device during ICA and RDP sessions, where it is handled by local codecs. This allows for video performance comparable to PCs, according to Wyse.

However, David Bradshaw of analyst Ovum warned that thin clients will still find it hard to compete against PCs. "The problem these guys have is that the co st of a PC is so low these days, and you can use a PC as a thin client if you want," he said.

McNaught said that support for TCX is included in VMware's ESX server and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDi), so that customers operating virtual desktops accessed via Wyse thin clients will see the benefit.
itweek.co.uk @ 2010 Incisive Media
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