Wyse puts Atom in new thin client netbook

Wyse hopes to attract more users with a smaller form factor and better multimedia performance

Wyse Technology has started shipping the X90cw, a new thin client that is an Intel Atom-based netbook, it said on Wednesday.

Wyse already offers larger-sized thin client laptops, but users have been asking for more lightweight products with longer battery life, according to David Angwin, Wyse's director of marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The X90cw costs US$699, which makes it more expensive than most netbooks. For that price, buyers get a portable Intel Atom Z520-based thin client that weighs 1.45 kilograms, has an 11.6-inch display and an eight-hour battery life. Wyse is also promising better hardware quality, which the device needs to handle the wear and tear of shared usage, according to Angwin.

The X90cw is based on Microsoft's Windows Embedded Standard 2009 and can access server-based applications via Wi-Fi, 3G or a wired Ethernet connection. It is compatible with desktop virtualization platforms from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, according to Wyse.

Equipping mobile workers with thin clients improves protection against the loss of sensitive information when a laptop is stolen or misplaced, since the device itself doesn't store any data, according to Wyse. Everything is stored in a data center, which also simplifies management, Wyse said.

The new thin client is being demonstrated this week at the BETT (British Education and Training Technology) Show in London, which is the world's largest educational technology event, according to its organizers.

Schools typically look for IT that is very easy to manage, according to Angwin. At the same time, students are increasingly working in small groups and portable thin clients give them the option to sit anywhere on campus and work, he said.

At the show, Wyse also introduced TCX Suite 4.0, which adds Flash video support. It is also compatible with desktop virtualization platforms from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, according to Wyse.

The aim is to reproduce the experience users get with a standard PC, so that more users can make the switch from a PC to a thin client, said Angwin.

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