The Windows-based terminal picture got a little clearer this week, as Network Computing Devices (NCD) announced a new agreement with Intel to produce Pentium-based "lean clients."
In addition to the deal to produce hardware based on Intel's lean-client specification, Intel backed up its commitment to the thin-client marketplace by purchasing 750,000 shares of NCD's common stock, equivalent to 4.4% of the terminal vendor.
Under the arrangement, NCD plans to create a Windows CE-based device running a Pentium chip. According to the company, the device can be termed as a Windows-based Terminal (WBT), answering many questions about whether Intel intended to play in the WBT market.
"I think that this is a positive for the market in general," said Eileen O'Brien, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Massachusetts. "Now we have clarified that `lean-client' is an architecture that could be a WBT or an NC, and in this case it is a WBT. This is Intel and Microsoft endorsing a terminal together; obviously they would not be entering this market if they didn't think it would be successful."
Analysts said they wouldn't be surprised to see more vendors announce similar arrangements with Intel later this year.
NCD's products will be available in the second half of the year, according to Lorraine Hariton, senior vice president of marketing and sales at NCD.
Network Computing Devices Inc., in Mountain View, California, is at http://www.ncd.com.
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