Neoware, VIA Team on Thin-Client Apps

Thin-client vendor, embedded-hardware specialist plan to join forces more closely on applications for the enterprise.

Thin-client vendor Neoware Systems Inc. and embedded-hardware specialist VIA Technologies Inc. announced Friday that they are teaming up to develop thin-client appliances for the enterprise.

Neoware already uses VIA processors in some of its Eon thin-client appliances, but the two companies now will work together much more closely, officials said in King of Prussia, Pa.

Neoware, which also uses Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Geode processor in many of its platforms, will continue to work with AMD, officials said.

Wen-Chi Chen, president of Taipei, Taiwan-based VIA, said in a statement: "We believe that with Neowares thin-client expertise and significant growth opportunities, we can accelerate the introduction of solutions that address what we believe will be a fundamental shift in the PC marketplace toward thin-client solutions."

IDC analyst Bob ODonnell said the news did not surprise him. He said VIAs specialty in embedded hardware will give it an edge in the thin-client space because "thin clients are in essence an embedded device." But he added, "AMD, with its Geode processor, wont go away, and Transmeta [Corp.] scored a big coup [with Hewlett-Packard Co.] This is likely going to be a multihorse race."

IDC predicts that worldwide enterprise thin-client shipments will increase from 1.46 million in 2003 to 1.78 million in 2004 and will reach 3.4 million units by 2007. While the market is growing, thin clients still only comprise about 1 percent of the overall PC market.

"A lot of people still dont know what thin clients are, or they dont understand the benefits," ODonnell said. The benefits include lower cost and better security, he said, adding that thin clients also have longer lifetimes than PCs and require less IT support. He acknowledged that server-based computing requires more servers and thus more server support staff, but said thin clients still come out costing less.

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