NComputing, a California-based company, is creating a $70 networked computer that uses about 1 watt of power. Sound like a futuristic dream? Not to the 1 million people currently using their devices. To get such cheap computer access and low power use, the devices skip the hassles of a CPU, memory or moving parts, preferring the ease of hooking up with a central shared computer that uses virtualization software.
As many as 30 users can share a single PC, and still be able to do what they would on a regular dedicated PC, from running videos to accessing the Internet.
The access devices use about 95% less energy than a regular PC – roughly 1-4 watts per device – and with the potential of as many as 30 people all using just an access device and shared PC, that means some intense energy savings. Additionally, the devices will last up to 10 years, since they don’t have moving parts or a need for constant upgrading.
According to NComputing, the access devices eliminate the need for air conditioning when there is a room full of the devices, since they create little heat, produce significantly less e-waste at the end of their extra long lifetimes, and according to their calculations, the company’s current user base is right now saving 144 million kWh of electricity annually, 17,700 metric tons of coal, 112,300 metric tons of CO2, and about 8,100 metric tons of e-waste.
Unlike low power options like the CherryPal, these devices aren’t intended for the average consumer. Rather, they’re meant for businesses or organizations like schools and government. Over 1 million units are already happily humming along in places like India, Macedonia and Bangladesh.
This kind of low-cost access is excellent for organizations that don't have a ton of money to spend on resources, from libraries to schools to nonprofits.