Newcastle-based Jade Integration will launch one of the smallest thin-client computers available in the UK to date, the Jack PC, next month.
Containing all the electronics needed to run as a low- to medium-power PC, the Jack PC, as its name suggests, will fit into a standard size wall socket. The entire PC sits on two layered circuitboards. It contains an AMD RISC processor to help reduce power consumption and heat output.
According to Jade Integration's managing director, Andy MacLellan, low power was one of the big breakthroughs achieved with the Jack PC. "A regular PC will use 80 Watts or more of power, and this only uses 5 Watts. That makes a big difference to the cost of running it, as well as other things."
The device was developed by Chip PC Technologies, a company that specialises in what it calls "post-PC technologies". According to MacLellan, Chip PC Technologies created the first Jack PC over a year ago and has been working on perfecting it since then. The University of Northumbria was one of the first organisations to take delivery of the device.
"This can be used as a standard PC on standard power," MacLellan told ZDNet UK, "or it can be used with power-over-Ethernet, and that really makes it efficient."
A basic Jack PC costs £209 without monitor or keyboard. At a low price and using low power, MacLellan believes the device is "one of the biggest developments in PCs that we have seen" and is one of the "ever-growing range of thin clients, which are rapidly replacing PCs as a more effective desktop computing solution for modern businesses".
The Jack PC runs Windows CE, is designed to connect to "any terminal server-based environment" and has Citrix ICA and Microsoft RDP clients built in.
It runs Internet Explorer 6.0 to connect to Web-driven applications, and runs an "up to 500MHz" AMD RISC processor, which the company says is equivalent to a 1.2GHz x86. It can come with up to 64MB of flash memory and 128MB RAM.
The power of a PC shrunk to a wall socket: the Jack PC
Analogue or digital monitors are supported, and the system can include support for dual-screen and 16:9 screens. It has four USB 2.0-compatible ports, 16-bit audio in/out and support for 24-bit (true colour), 1280x1024 graphics. The Jack PC will also support wireless connectivity.
While the device itself consumes less power than a standard PC, users who want to run a range of applications will need to connect it to a server. This will raise the total power consumption.
The Jack PC will be getting its official launch next month when it is being shown at the IT Works show which will run on the 14th and 15th of June in Newcastle.