This idea is not fresh, it was already very successful more then 15 years ago or more, in time of Windows 3.1! I remember when i played DUNE, my brother has done some MS Office document and a colleague had some excel worksheet... and evrything was smooth on a 486DX 66MHz computer ! The card name was Stone"something", i don't remember now. But, it was very cool, just plug mouse, keyboard and monitor to the box and you got new computer to work on! i thinh max was 3 or 5 computers.
We in India Started using these products back in 2005 they are working well & efficient with many of our clients i.e. Manufacturing,IT Training centers, Sugarcane industries and also at rural villages where electricity is available for only 8 to 12 hours. as you mentioned nComputing is growing very fast at perfect time.
Sorry it was back in 2006. It is working well with Desktop Publishing, Tally Accounting Software. As I tested X-series with FarCry 3D FPS Game on Host machine and web surfing, documents, worksheets, Presentation applications on other terminals works good.
IMO the point is not that this is a 100% new idea. The point is that the planning and execution look good on so many fronts.
Just as an example, the cheapest HP thin client I can find on newegg is over $200.00 whereas costs on this relatively new and improvable platform could go up $30.00 a seat and still come in at less than half the cost.
Think of coffee shops and grade school computer labs and places like that, and not just in 3rd world countries. Realize that this level of abstraction is still an infant when compared to the R&D time that has been put into traditional computing platforms. I'm looking forward to seeing if this will work well for home automation.
I work in an IT department at a hospital. We have tried the nComputing L130 thin client in our training room of 10 computers with the host machine stored in our data center. We were hoping to use these at nursing stations, but are not happy enough with the performance to give it a go. For now, we are sticking with standard PCs. In the future, we will try to experiment more with the L130 to see if we can overcome the problems preventing us from using it. If we can't, we may try HP's thin clients along with VMware's VDI solution.
And so the circle closes. In the 1970s you had one mini or mainframe and a bunch of dumb terminals; so nothing too new about this (good!) idea.
As for the $11 per seat... anyone noticed that you also need a screen per seat?
I think the main purpose of this is the low cost compared to previous devices like this. My fathers business had either an 8086 or 80286 with 640K possibly less memory running XENIX with 12 dummy terminals connected and it ran them all fine and pretty quick. Four of these terminals were connected over 60 miles away by a dedicated phone line. But this system cost over $30K
This system was finally replaced 15 years later with a Pentium III 450mhz with 64MB RAM running UNIX and faster dummy terminals for a mere $15K. The main cost of this equipment was our propriety rental software.
But as far as this device is concerned if you split a Core 2 Quad among thirty terminals at $70 a pop it seems that getting 30 PIII's off of craigslist would have more horsepower and be far cheaper. The advantage though is the much lower power requirement and use of new equipment.
This has a cost savings from a maintenance point of view as well e.g. remote administration of small/branch offices - only one machine to administer. As for desktop software license cost, an open source desktop should work for majority of the users with OpenOffice, Firefox, applications ...
Just why bother for microsoft? let them do what they may. meanwhile run these devices in workplaces and schools on LINUX and OpenOffice.Org Suite. We have atleast 40 such systems running in our schools in Assam (INDIA) on LINUX, and we do not bother about MS. The more you bother about them, the more they will bother you with new useless upgrades and licenses.