Five thin client vendors immediately committed to support Microsoft's multiuser Windows technology at the Comdex show today.
Wyse, NCD, Tektronix, Boundless and Neoware (formerly HDS Network Systems) said they would develop hardware to run Microsoft's Windows-Based Terminal Server, formerly codenamed Hydra. The first beta of Windows-based Terminal Server was released on Monday.
Boundless announced plans for the Viewpoint TC Model 400, a Windows-Based Terminal (WBT) that will run a specially adapted version of Windows CE, the handheld operating system, which Microsoft is currently developing. This CE version will support T-Share, the protocol that will be needed to access Hydra directly.
But T-Share was conspicuously absent from the demonstrations at Comdex, with Boundless and other vendors demonstrating their existing thin clients running the Citrix protocol ICA. These devices accessed Hydra using Citrix picasso, an add-on to Hydra that provides support for ICA.
This is leading to some confusion over what constitutes a 'true' WBT. T-Share will require systems to run some form of Windows, whereas ICA already runs on the Mac, under Unix and inside Web browsers.
NCD claimed it was the first company to demonstrate a WBT. It showed a device based on a NEC VR4310 Risc processor, running the Windows CE 2.0 operating system. The device, codenamed Thumper, was shown accessing Hydra using ICA. It will hit the market "at the same time as Hydra", a spokesperson stated.
Other vendors demonstrated systems using various thin client OS kernels and the ICA protocol.
Tektronix announced the Thinstream terminal, which it says is ready for Hydra. It will be upgradable to Windows CE and T-Share in the second quarter, the company stated. The Thinstream will ship on 30 January, with pricing starting at $745 for the main unit.
Wyse said that all users of its current Winterm terminals, which are ICA-based, will support T-Share when it is released.
Microsoft has predicted that WBTs will be priced around $500. However, none of the current ICA terminals hit that price point and vendors are suggesting prices closer to $600 or $700.
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