Strange bedfellows. Haier, the Chinese maker of air conditioners and other appliances, has teamed up with NComputing, a US company specialised in desktop virtualisation software and hardware. The two will provide low-cost computing to markets that are poorly served by the mainstream computing business.
It sounds suspiciously like the One Laptop per Child initiative, which had equally worthy ambitions to make computing more affordable for the developing world.
Haier Computer, the computing arm of Haier Group, and NComputing are targeting educational and government deals in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The two boast that they have already helped the Macedonia's government install over 180,000 computers in schools across the Balkan nation at a price of less than $150 a seat.
Desktop virtualisation is a growing trend among businesses that are tired of the hassles of having to manage large numbers of increasingly complex and resource-intensive desktop PCs.
These PCs are so powerful that they spend much of their time underutilised, so NComputing devised a system that “steals” unused time on the more powerful PCs and uses it to power simpler and cheaper “thin client” computers that can stand in for PCs for most everyday tasks.
Haier has been selling PCs in its home market in China for years but as, the Financial Times notes, it has so far had little presence in overseas markets.
More in this NComputing press release