Compaq Computer Corp. is getting into the thin-client services game in a big way next month. The Houston-based manufacturer is set to announce two new Windows and Linux desktop thin clients and will strongly position its new Aero 8000 Windows CE Jupiter machine as a mobile thin client.
Prices and product names haven't been announced for the desktop machines, which are in beta test now and slated to hit the market early next month. One is based on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE operating system; the other will be powered by Linux.
"We're using Linux for those customers who need an integrated browser on the thin client -- Windows CE doesn't support that. And we've integrated the Netscape browser on the Linux box," said Benjamin Williams, the company's director of displays and peripherals product marketing.
The units, sculpted boxes about the size and weight of a ream of copy paper, will have no moving parts or local data storage beyond what's needed to run the thin client itself. They will offer ports for keyboard, mouse, sound input and output, and standard VGA video, plus Ethernet, Universal Serial Bus, parallel and dual serial connections. The first machines will support Microsoft Windows Terminal Server Edition and Citrix Systems Inc. WinFrame/MetaFrame client access.
Compaq will use the machines as part of a strong push into the application service provider market. The company's acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp. and Tandem Computers Inc. has given it a foot in the door of the lucrative services market, as well.
Hewlett-Packard Co. is also expected to get into the thin-client game in response to the growing interest in application hosting. The company will introduce additions to its new Entria thin-client line over the next few months. The first of three new machines, the Entria G, goes on sale next month and is priced at $599. Designed for use with Windows NT Terminal Server Edition and Citrix MetaFrame thin-client environments, it includes a terminal emulation software suite for accessing older, mainframe-based applications.
Prices and ship dates haven't been set for the Entria L and Entria X models. HP will sell the Entria X, a Linux-based machine, to Unix and Windows NT shops that require high-end graphics capabilities; the system is capable of displaying 16-bit color depth in a 1,600-by-1,200 screen resolution. The Entria L, another Linux-based desktop client, will be a lower-cost unit mainly intended for Web-based applications.