Will Thin Clients Replace Office PCs?

Many IT
pros have spent their entire careers running around office buildings
installing, upgrading, tweaking, and massaging the tens of millions of PCs that
keep American business running. But are the days of those desktop computers numbered?
BusinessWeek’s Cliff Edwards takes a
look at the
latest wave of thin-client systems
to see if they have what it takes to get
things done in today’s more Net-connected environments.

Corporations
are now starting to think about trading PCs for smartphones or other kinds of
hybrid wireless devices. These look like notebook computers, but some are
designed to connect with a smartphone and share its operating system and
software applications. As a result, the thin client doesn’t require its own
internal processing or storage capability.

Why head
this way? Because thin clients are cheaper than notebook PCs, and the IT staff
can have much more control over what software is deployed on them than they can
in a traditional Windows desktop environment.

Edwards
suggests you take a look at Celio’s
Redfly C8N
, which has an eight-inch screen and is designed to work
wirelessly with a smartphone running the Windows Mobile operating system. It
costs just $299 and because it hooks up with Windows Mobile, it can easily
handle the typical Office documents we all work with every day.

This is a
fascinating trend, well worth a few minutes of study.

— Don Willmott

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