It is unlikely that the thin-client vision can be realized in the developing world in the short term unless connectivity and power supplies get a lot better, fast. However, the basic concept may become operationalized through the mobile. For Networks, Thin Is In – New York Times A decade ago, the network computer — also called the thin-client computer — was promoted as a replacement for personal computers and desktop software. Thin clients have no hard drives to store desktop applications, like Microsoft’s Word or Excel, permanently. The leading supporters of the inexpensive, terminal-style machines were Microsoft’s archrivals at Oracle and Sun Microsystems.