IGEL Fattens Thin-Client Product Line - InformationWeek
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
02:02 PM
[Dark Reading Crash Course] Finding & Fixing Application Security Vulnerabilitie
Sep 14, 2017
Hear from a top applications security expert as he discusses key practices for scanning and securi ...Read More>>

IGEL Fattens Thin-Client Product Line

European hardware maker unveils two new devices to support companies' need for powerful, multimedia-capable terminals.

In what may strike some as a "back to the future" moment, European thin-client maker IGEL will launch a beefed up version of its terminals, in response to what it claims is growing demand within enterprises for more powerful devices to support multimedia applications.

Which would seem to make them, well, PCs again, surely? IGEL markets the Universal Desktop (UD) range of thin clients, based on Linux and Microsoft Windows, which let customers access a broad spectrum of server-based infrastructures and applications. It announced on Thursday two new devices: the UD5 and the UD3. The UD5 is based on the Sandy Bridge chipset from Intel, with an Intel Celeron 847 dual-core CPU with 1 GB of main memory (DDR3 RAM) and up to 2 GB of flash-based memory (in the form of a SATA solid state disk). The UD3 is based on a VIA Eden X2 dual core processor with the VIA VX900 chipset and offers users 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and up to 4 GB of flash storage in the form of a SATA SSD.

"Two years ago, when people started doing VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), it was all very entry-level in terms of what customers wanted from their thin clients," the firm's U.K. and Irish managing director, Simon Richards, told InformationWeek.

Now, he said, companies want to offer much more complex multimedia apps to their staffs -- which, he said, is easier to do technically by ramping up the display device than by passing it down the network via a "thin pipe." This trend, he said, is forcing thin-client hardware suppliers like IGEL to make their offerings more and more powerful, not just in CPU capacity but also in terms of caching and management.

[ Considering swapping your PC for a tablets? Read 10 Ways Microsoft Could Improve Surface Tablets. ]

IGEL said it has on-boarded features to accelerate multimedia playback. Flash animations and other video files can be redirected from the server over to the thin client, which then locally decodes the content and plays it back "smoothly and seamlessly," it said, allowing the UD5 in particular to conserve server resources while also offering users the "best-possible" playback experience.

When asked if the simpler thing to do might be to just swap out thin clients for tablets, which seem to offer the ability to support multimedia, Richards replied, "I see a lot of tablets on trains and in offices, yes. But they are replacing laptops, not desktops. There is still very much a role for a thin-client end device in many work contexts that BYOD [bring your own device] won't touch."

IGEL, headquartered in Bremen, Germany, is, according to market-watchers IDC, number three in the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) market behind Dell (which bought Wyse) and HP, and fifth globally, with a 3.5% share. The company said that what's missing from that data is its success in what it calls "software thin clients," which turns old PCs into thin clients by removing their OSes and all existing apps. IGEL said it is a major growth area in Europe, specifically for its Universal Desktop Converter product. IDC's market analysis said the EMEA thin-client market grew 9.2% year-on-year to more than 1.7 million units, with the research group predicting a 6.2% growth in 2013.

In the U.K., IGEL claims retail group Arcadia, logistics firm Nippon Express and nonprofit Age UK as customers for the Universal Desktop.

IGEL also announced Thursday it has extended an existing Germany and Nordics region distribution agreement into the U.K. with its partner Arrow Electronics.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 10:02:36 AM
re: IGEL Fattens Thin-Client Product Line
Thanks for your comment, Tam. It may not have come out in the story as much as maybe it should, but the firm did stress to me that they think they are innovating as much in the software side as the hardware. I guess we'll see what the market decides!
User Rank: Apprentice
5/20/2013 | 11:56:47 AM
re: IGEL Fattens Thin-Client Product Line
The problem Igel have is that they essentially make identical products to the HP/Dell - who dominate the market. As they all use PC type technology - the only way they see to take things forward is to add more power, whether users need it or not. More power is never a bad thing - but the extra cost is. Luckily there are alternative companies out there with more imagination who provide the performance without simply throwing more hardware at the problem - such as the innovative technology from Axel and Ncomputing...
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll