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The definition of a thin client has changed over the last few years as the market has changed. One overriding definition is that a thin client is a computer at the lowest price possible. That means removing some features such as disk drives and relying on network-attached servers for storage needs. Some devices have disk drives, but they are used more for caching than for permanent data storage.
Thin clients inhabit the feature space somewhere between dumb terminals and smart, full- featured desktop computers. They have features of X-terminals and diskless workstations. Devices that fall into the thin-client category include desktop (and kitchen top) Internet terminals, handheld devices, wireless PDAs, and even smart phones. A common characteristic is that thin clients are in sealed cases with no expansion slots, no hard drives, and limited upgrade capabilities. This helps cut costs.
This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications" with a discussion of the following:
Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.