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Wyse Rolls Out Next-Gen Thin Notebooks

Wyse Technology believes desktop and mobile computing devices can never be too rich or too thin.

And one day, according to Chief Marketing Officer Jeff McNaught, they might even be free.

On Monday, the San Jose, Calif.-based company used the VMworld 2007 conference in San Francisco as the forum to announce the release of its latest desktop thin client machine, dubbed the V class LE, two new thin-client notebooks and some new software that promises to deliver rich multimedia features to users enamored with lighter, cheaper and more energy-efficient computing devices.

"This is the next major step in our industry and part of our strategy to move to even thinner thin client," McNaught said in an interview with InternetNews.com. "By removing the local operating systems from the thin client, we're making them easier to use, more affordable and more flexible for IT departments. Eventually, we can see cable companies or phone companies giving away the devices for free. They'll just rely more on the network, just like a phone or a TV, and will eventually become disposable."

IDC, in its latest report on the thin-client computing industry, predicts thin-clients will account for about 8.8 percent of U.S. enterprise desktop shipments this year, up from 7.3 percent in 2006. The research firm also found that about 14.5 percent of shipments in Western Europe will be of the thin-client variety, up from 12.1 percent last year.

"There's no such thing as too thin," McNaught said. "You can inadvertently make thin-clients too stupid by making them unable to connect to Wi-Fi or unable to understand authentication environments. We didn't do that though. We're giving people something that delivers the kind of full and rich experience they'd expect at home on their PC."

All three new devices provide a virtual desktop environment, connecting through VMware , VDI, Citrix  or Microsoft  Terminal Services.

The X90 and X90e thin notebooks are powered by a VIA Eden C7 processor running at 1.2GHz, weigh less than four pounds, use only 13 watts of power and don't have a hard disk drive so, unlike traditional notebooks, you don't have to worry about your data falling into the wrong hands if your device is ever lost or stolen. McNaught claims Wyse's thin-client offerings reduce total energy consumption by 90 percent compared to most PCs and notebook computers.

Both notebooks include Wi-Fi, video, internal and external audio, USB 2.0 and Express slots. The X90 carries a price tag of $600 while the X90e, which tacks on Smart Card and Bluetooth 2.0 capacity, costs an extra $50. McNaught says both notebooks are zero-client compatible but include Windows XP for disconnected use.

Wyse's TCX multimedia software accelerates virtually all multimedia features and will be embedded in VMware's ESX Server 3.02 software. On its own, TCX Multimedia costs $25 per client.