Intel has officially confirmed that it is developing design guidelines for thin clients in conjunction with a number of operating system vendors.
Intel officials had informally discussed their thin-client architectures at Comdex last month.
Slated for completion early next year, the guidelines are for building what Intel calls a lean client and a network server for lean clients. The guidelines would be used by manufacturers to build whatever Intel-architecture-based systems they believe the market will demand. According to Intel, initial demand will likely focus on the terminal upgrade market, as task-oriented users such as bank tellers and purchasing agents discard their aging terminals in favor of lean clients.
Intel's Lean Client System Design Guidelines call for embedded Pentium processors at a minimum, with varying memory requirements. Some lean clients based on the guidelines will likely be priced at below US$500, according to Intel.
Intel's Network Server Configuration Guidelines for Lean Clients will include provisions for the additional loads in processing, memory, I/O and storage that lean clients require, officials said.
The company is also currently defining the guidelines for standard network boot, power management, asset management and optional remote wake-up, all of which would be managed by the server, they said.
Intel said it is working on the guidelines in conjunction with operating system software vendors, including IBM, Microsoft , Citrix , Network Computer Inc., Novell and The Santa Cruz Operation.
According to Intel, IBM will support the lean client with its WorkSpace On-Demand operating system; Microsoft is eyeing it for a Windows CE-based operating system to support the upgrade of dedicated terminal devices; Citrix is interested in the guidelines for its WinFrame software; Novell will include the spec in NetWare; NCI will port its NC Desktop and NC Server Suite to the lean client and network server, respectively; and SCO OpenServer, Tarantella, and the SCO Network Clients OS will support the lean client and network server guidelines.
In addition, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, NEC, Siemens Nixdorf, Unisys and Wyse Technology are reviewing the guidelines, according to Intel.
Intel, with headquarters in Santa Clara, California, can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.intel.com/.