Regular readers will know that BusinessGreen is a big fan of thin clients, the natty little alternatives to PCs that have no moving parts and as a result use a fraction of the energy of their fat client counterparts.
The one big problem with this approach is that while it is well suited to commercial environments they have much less appeal to consumers who tend to like the idea of their own hard drive and their own processing power.
However, it is a problem innovative US start up Zonbu is looking to overcome by marketing its consumer-focused thin clients as "the first environmentally responsible computer".
Rather than trying to explain the concept of thin client computing to its customers the company has instead simply branded its product as an affordable green computer.
The Zonbu device boasts all the green credentials you'd expect from a thin client, such as reduced eWaste and average energy use of 15W that represents one third of the power used by a typical light bulb, while the company also offsets what energy the product's does use and offers a free take back scheme. Moreover,
But where Zonbu has been really clever is in taking the complexity out of the device's software. It provides the open source Zonbu OS and a range of applications, including Firefox, Skype and Evolution, through a subscription package starting from $12.95 a month, ensuring that all the hassle of managing the computer and ensuring it is secure and stable and backed up is handled by Zonbu in its datacentres.
All this means that not only is the system extremely energy efficient, but it is also highly secure and means that users can access their files from any computer with an internet connection.
Unfortunately the device will have to overcome a huge degree of cynicism from computer users wedded to their PCs and Windows OS, but that does not necessarily mean Zonbu will fail and there are certain markets that could yet make the device a success.
Any green consumers are likely to be attracted by the machine's environmental credentials while the hosted software package could appeal to computer users who lack the technical confidence to handle back ups, security patches and the like. The silver surfer market in particular, which often voices a desire for a computer that can simply access the web and provide word processing, is likely to be attracted to a product that is simple to use and boasts a low price point.
And if reduced energy use and low price points aren't enough to attract the customers it also comes in a range of pretty colours!
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