As a result of these deals, IBM and Sharp will offer products that can use the Citrix WinFrame server software in conjunction with a data transport technology to enable a wide array of devices to act much like a network computer. Citrix allows computers to function as NCs because its technology runs Windows applications on the server.
Sharp will offer the technology for use with its Mobilon series of Windows CE-based handheld PC companions, turning them into mobile NCs, in effect. Sharp says that sales force workers, insurance and real estate agents, and health care workers who need access to Windows NT applications remotely will be the likely users of the Citrix technology. By offering Citrix technology, Sharp should be able to widen the appeal of the devices to corporate users.
IBM will offer the Citrix technology with its Network Station line of desktop NCs. While the Java-only NCs originally proposed by Oracle and Sun are largely nonexistent, IBM has been offering NCs that can access Unix, Java, and now Windows applications. Analysts have said that the main obstacle to adoption of NCs has been the inability to access Windows applications.