Intel shows 'lean client' vision

Intel today showed its hand on design guidelines for what it called 'lean client' computing.

The firm said its Lean Client System Design Guidelines and Network Server Configuration Guidelines for Lean Clients will let OEMs offer various product types, beginning with units that replace dumb terminals costing from about $500 (£350).

Microsoft, IBM, Citrix, Network Computer Inc., Novell and SCO plan to offer software to support the architecture, which is essentially a cheaper variant of the NC. Microsoft will use its Windows CE operating system rather than a fully-fledged desktop Windows flavour.

Compaq, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Fujitsu, NEC, Network Computing Devices, Packard Bell-NEC, Siemens-Nixdorf, Unisys and Wyse are looking at the guidelines, which Intel expects to finish early in 1998.

Lean clients will be aimed at users involved in repetitive tasks, often financial workers in banks and loan agencies.

"The lean client and network server are an opportunity to extend Intel's platform to new markets beyond the PC space, covering both the high and low ends of business computing," said Daniel Louppe, European director of Intel's business platform group.

"Our goal is to have a breadth of operating system support available for this platform, since a common hardware foundation is what customers have been waiting for."