Wyse unveils Windows XP thin client

Microsoft's newly released operating system designed to power small computing devices has found a home in a slim computer...

Microsoft's newly released operating system designed to power small computing devices has found a home in a slim computer terminal, or thin client, from Wyse Technology.

The terminal was unveiled on 28 November in conjunction with Microsoft's release of its Windows XP operating system for embedded devices. Wyse said it expects to be the first hardware maker to offer a thin client device with XP installed.

The company said it would begin shipping its new machine, commonly used to run cash registers and bar-code scanning applications, in the first quarter of 2002.

A thin client typically is a slim terminal computer that has little or no software installed and instead runs applications off of a central server. It is considered to be a low-cost alternative to the bulky desktop PC.

The Wyse Winterm 9440XL is the latest in the company's Windows Custom-Application Terminal (WinCAT) line of client-server computers, which use Windows.

Designed to run applications locally, it is Wyse's most advanced thin client, according to the company. This release features the same hardware configuration as its predecessor, which used the embedded version of Windows NT.

"It is essentially the same hardware platform," said David Rand, director of field marketing at Wyse. "The new benefits are those that derive from the fact that it's based on XP embedded."

The 9440XL will feature support for thousands of different peripheral devices, more than previous Windows-based thin clients, according to Wyse. It includes built-in support for USB devices and hundreds of other drivers.

The NT systems lacked many of the drivers that customers typically need, Rand said. The machines also make use of the increased multimedia capabilities available in the desktop version of Windows XP.

The devices will ship with Internet Explorer 6.0 and Wyse's Rapport management software, which allows systems administrators to manage a network remotely. The management software will inventory a network of about 200 thin clients and allow administrators to maintain those systems.

With efforts to secure computer networks at many organisations heightened in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks, the idea of a thin client is gaining appeal, Wyse said.

A thin client allows companies to store all of their data on back-end servers rather than on the desktop machine. If an employee cannot get to the local machine, or that machine is destroyed, no data will be lost. Also, a company can relocate an office and set up new thin-client machines quickly and at a lower cost than if they use desktop PCs.

The company also plans to release an upgrade of its mid-level thin client running Microsoft's upcoming Windows CE .Net operating system. Microsoft said that embedded operating system is due to be released by the end of December. Wyse did not comment on when it would launch its device.

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