Leaner thin computing

After less than a year on the market, IBM Corp. is slashing the prices of its NetVista N2200 family of thin clients by 14 per cent, company officials said Tuesday.

The NetVista line was one of the cornerstones of IBM’s EON (Edge of Network) initiative, which the company launched late last year. NetVista thin clients offer simplified, server-to-client computing for deployments that do not require a fully functional PC, such as retail check out terminals.

Officials at Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM said the price reduction adds additional savings to the already low TCO (total cost of ownership) thin clients can provide.

Although sales of thin clients have been brisk, their adoption by companies may be hindered by the network requirements of thin-client computing, according to Roger Kay, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

“Thin clients have only done well where [the company using the devices] can do a total solution,” as the closed server-to-client nature of thin-client computing requires a network designed specifically for the task, something not many companies have opted for, Kay said.

“Our forecasts show that the market for thin client is growing faster than the PC, but it’s a very small market compared to the PC, so you’re talking about relatively small numbers,” Kay said.