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Portable thin client’s based on Dell notebook

Dec 9, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Devon IT announced a thin-client notebook computer based on Dell's Latitude E5400. The SafeBook E5400X includes a 2.2GHz Intel Celeron CPU, a 14.1-inch display, 1GB of RAM, and will “soon” be offered with its Linux-based DeTOS operating system, says the company.

Devon IT describes the new SafeBook E5400X as its "third generation" thin-client notebook. The original SafeBook thin client, which similarly ran DeTOS Linux in addition to Windows, was based on a Via C7-M processor clocked at 1.5GHz. Like subsequent versions, and most other thin clients, it lacked a hard disk drive (HDD), adding security by ensuring that little data would be stored locally on the device.

Devon IT's SafeBook E5400X is based on Dell's Latitude E5400 (above)

We were surprised to see, then, that the initial version of the SafeBook E5400X is equipped with an 80GB HDD. This may be, however, because it runs Windows Embedded Standard 2009, which offers write filters that can be configured either to discard all changes to any storage device each time a thin client is restarted, or to allow changes only to selected directories. It's quite possible that the upcoming version based on its proprietary, Linux-based Devon Terminal Operating System (DeTOS), will not include the HDD.

According to Devon IT, the Windows version of the SafeBook E5400X supports Citrix's ICA (independent computing architecture) and Microsoft's RDP (remote desktop protocol). The notebook works with Windows Terminal Servers 2000/2003/2008, Citrix's XenAPP, XenDesktop and XenServer, VMware's View, Unix/Linux servers, and other legacy servers, the company says. Protocol support for the upcoming Linux version was not listed.

The SafeBook E5400X is said to be based on Dell's previously released Latitude E5400 notebook, making adoption easier for enterprises that may already be familiar with this device. While Dell itself offers this model with a choice of Core 2 Duo or Celeron M processors and up to 4GB of RAM, Devon IT has selected a 2.2GHz Celeron 900 CPU and equipped the E5400X with 1GB of RAM — more than adequate for a thin client.

Portable thin clients are becoming more common, but connectivity can be a snag

Devon IT says the SafeBook E5400X includes a 14.1-inch display with 1440 x 900 resolution, a gigabit Ethernet port, VGA output, a "seven-in-1" card reader, and a slot that accepts a Type I or Type II PCMCIA card. Wireless networking (802.11a/g/n) is standard, while a PCI Mini Card slot provides for optional cellular connectivity, the company adds.

Dell offers the Latitude E5400 with both six- and nine-cell batteries, presumably available to the Devon IT customer as well. The Latitude device also includes the choice of an optical disk drive or "TravelLite" module (simply a weight-saving shell), according to Dell.

Finally, Dell's Latitude E5400 is said to offer an IEEE1394 (FireWire) port, a docking connector, and an S-Video connector. We have not listed these in the spec tablet below because they have not been confirmed as present on the SafeBook E5400X by Devon IT.

Features and specifications provided by Devon IT for the SafeBook E5400X, or by Dell for the Latitude E5400, include the following:

  • Processor — Intel Celeron 900 clocked at 2.2GHz
  • Memory — 1GB of DDR2 memory
  • Chipset — GM45 GMCH (graphics controller memory hub) and ICH (I/O controller hub) 9EM
  • Display — 14.1-inch screen with 1440 x 900 pixel resolution
  • Storage — 80GB hard disk drive; may also be available with optical disk drive
  • Expansion:
    • Type I/II PCMCIA slot
    • Seven-in-1 card reader
    • PCI Mini Card slot
  • Networking:
    • LAN — Gigabit Ethernet
    • WLAN — 801.11a/g/n
    • WAN — EVDO or HSDPA/HSUPA (optional)
  • Other I/O:
    • 3 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x VGA
    • Headphone jack and microphone input
  • Battery type — 6-cell or 9-cell lithium-ion battery; life n/s
  • Dimensions — 13.3 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches (338 x 240 x 37mm)
  • Weight, with six cell battery and hard disk drive — 5.58 pounds (2.54kg)

Joe Makoid, president of Devon IT, stated, "The experience and sophistication that propels Dell's renowned laptop lineup will ensure our users have access to the best in functionality, reliability, and quality. We expect the SafeBook E5400X to be an industry standard for deploying mobile thin client devices."


Devon IT's SafeBook E5400X appears to be available now with Windows Embedded Standard, and Devon IT says the DeTOS Linux version will be available "soon." Pricing was not released.

More information may be found on the Devon IT website, here.

Background information on the Dell Latitude E5400 may be found on the Dell website, here.

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