Network terminal vendor NCD has linked up with Intel to develop Pentium-based devices based on the chip giant's Lean Client design, which bridges the gap between the two main thin client camps.
The deal will run for three years and involves Intel taking a 4.4 per cent share in the company.
Under the terms of the non-exclusive agreement, NCD will develop a reference platform for the Lean Client, an Intel-based, OS-neutral device that can be implemented as either a network computer or a Windows Based Terminal (WBT). Intel published the original specification for the Lean Client in December.
A prototype is to be demonstrated later this spring, with volume shipments following in the second half of the year.
The company will market the devices under the NCD Thinstar brand name, as well as offering motherboards and complete products to OEMs.
NCD?s implementation will be a Windows Based Terminal - the stripped-down PC design favoured by Compaq and Microsoft - running Windows CE. It will support both the Citrix ICA and the Microsoft RDP protocols for accessing Microsoft?s forthcoming multiuser Hydra server.
The terminal maker will take Pentium processors and core logic chips from Intel, and combine it with its own and Intel's software components.
NCD currently manufactures thin client devices based on PowerPC and Mips R4000 processors, both under the Explora brand name. Additionally, NCD manufacturers IBM?s Netstation NCs. But NCD would not say whether IBM will OEM the Lean Client device.
NCD was one of the pioneers of thin client computing. Senior vice president for marketing and business development, Lorraine Hariton, said the company sees two segments in the emerging market: terminal devices that require applications to run on the server, and NC-type products that run Java applications locally.
NCD currently sells both. However, Hariton said: ?Our focus is more on terminals than on [network] computers. We find, architecturally, that this works best. Once you do much processing on the client, it quickly becomes very fat."
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