More Servers Head for Home
From IT giants like Lenovo to upstart organizations like Amahi, the race to offer intuitive home servers and high-tech living room appliances (built around Windows and Linux) continues. Here’s the latest buzz from The VAR Guy.
Our resident blogger hears Lenovo on Aug. 19 will expand its digital home product portfolio to include a home theatre PC (the IdeaCentre Q700) and Lenovo’s first home server (the IdeaCentre D400, pictured). Lenovo will round out the announcement with the IdeaCentre Q100 and Q110 nettops, plus the IdeaPad U450p.
Full disclosure: The following bullet points are straight from Lenovo’s draft press release, which means there’s plenty of marketing polish throughout. Nevertheless, the text helps understand Lenovo’s product positioning:
- The D400: Lenovo’s IdeaCentre D400 home server securely houses large amounts of data for professional and personal use, including videos, music and photos. Users can easily set up a home network to store and share files across different devices such as PCs and smartphones. They can also regularly back up PCs on the network to support a small office or home office.
- The Q700: Lenovo’s DVD-like IdeaCentre home theater PC connects with multiple devices, including digital cameras, smartphones and more so consumers can watch videos in full HD resolution, view photos and listen to music all on their TV. They can also watch and record digital TV with the optional TV tuner and remote while seamlessly integrates multiple media sources into a single device.
- The Q100: These tiny PCs measure 0.7 inches thin, making them the thinnest nettops yet1 at just the size of a small book. The nettops feature an Intel Atom processor, making them ideal for performing basic functions like web surfing, downloading content and producing Internet-based documents. The Q110 may be the smallest, most powerful nettop yet. Equipped with Nvidia ION graphics, the nettop supports HD video and can handle accelerated media conversion and other tasks consumers would expect from full size desktops.
Lenovo certainly isn’t the first company to introduce a home server. From Acer to Hewlett-Packard, plenty of IT companies are launching media servers built around Windows Home Server. And let’s not forget Cisco Systems’ entry into the living room.
Meanwhile, Linux-driven home servers also are emerging. The folks at Amahi continue to promote Linux-based home servers (so-called home digital assistants) with built in networking and family-centric applications. More recently, Amahi has started testing support for Ubuntu Linux.
Pundits say the home server market is growing. Lenovo is quick to note an International Data Corp. report predicting the home server industry will have a 110 percent compound annual growth rate from 2007 to 2012.
But where are the profits for VARs and solutions providers? Is the home server market purely an opportunity for Geek Squad folks and retail rivals? The VAR Guy is all ears.