A low-cost PC from Emachines targeted at the school/college sales market in the US is “the T1220 desktop PC comes with an Intel 1.2 GHz Celeron processor, 128MB of memory, 20GB hard drive, 56kbps modem and 48x CD-ROM drive. After a $75 mail-in rebate, the T1220 costs $399, which makes it one of the cheaper branded PCs on the market.”
Add USD 100+ for a monitor, and the cost goes over USD 500, which is way too expensive. There is no need for the hard disk, processing speed and most of the memory, should schools and colleges consider server-based computing and use the Thin Client-Thick Server solution. The motivations, though, are likely to be different from the point of view of developing markets and emerging markets.
In countries like the US, high-speed LANs are there on most campuses. This can facilitate a shift to server-based computing, and bring down the desktop price by 70-80%. It would also curb some of the piracy of music and software since now everything would be on the server and thus trackable.
In countries like India, educational institutions can now set up computer labs for as little as USD 3,000 (Rs 1.5 lakhs). A lab would have 10 Thin Clients and a Thick Server. This would be used as a shared resource by students. Growing the lab would only entail additional Thin Clients at a cost of about USD 150 (Rs 7,500) each.