The uptake of virtualisation in the enterprise, coupled with the economic downturn, is positively good for business, so says thin computing specialist Wyse Technology, which today announced a number of new product developments.

These include a new version of its operating system, Wyse Thin OS; "significant updates" to the Wyse virtualisation software suite; and a new line of thin clients.

Wyse Thin OS 6.3 will be available from mid December, and boasts increased security components, and compatibility with Microsoft's RDP 6 protocol. It also includes Wyse's new collaborative processing architecture (CPA).

CPA, according to Wyse, 'intelligently shifts' high intensity activities such as multimedia decoding from the server CPU to the thin client CPU. This minimises the strain put on the server's CPU when users view multimedia files on a thin client and instead allows the mostly-idle processor on the client to take up the slack.

Other new features of version of 6.3 include connectivity for Microsoft Terminal Server 2008; enhanced 802.1x wireless support; support for RDP connections; and support for government FIPS (140-2) encryption etc.

The second product announcement is an update to the Wyse virtualisation software suite.

Once again, Wyse has looked to improve the multimedia capabilities of virtual desktop environments from Citrix, VMware and Microsoft, with the addition of TCX USB Virtualiser 2.0 (allows for the discovery and use of local USB devices plugged into Wyse thin clients), TCX Multi-display 1.2 (recognises additional monitors attached to Wyse thin clients) and TCX Rich Sound 1.0 (bi directional audio capabilities, so that USB headsets used on a Wyse thin client, allowing the use of VoIP or unified communication).

Indeed, Wyse claims to be the first company to be able to deliver unified communications on a thin client.

The final product announcement is a line of high performance thin clients designed to deliver similar capabilities as staff would expect from a conventional PC in a virtual desktop environment.

HD is now supported as the Wyse R50LE (running Novell's Suse Linux) and R90LE (Windows XP Embedded) now have graphic processing units, similar to that of a PC. The thin clients are based on the AMD Sempron processors, and come with up to 2GB of RAM. Options include 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, PCI expansion for fibre network connectivity, and support for up to six external displays.

The recommended retail price for the Wyse R50LE 1G/1G is £375 ($557) excluding VAT, while the R90L 1G/1G costs £445 ($622) excluding VAT. Both are available now.

Last year, the company announced a laptop thin client that had no disk drive or fan, a relatively long battery life and a full-size keyboard.

"Wyse is now both a hardware and software business," said Jeff McNaught, chief marketing officer, pointing out that over the past two years the company has evolved and is no longer just a traditional thin client provider for Citrix and Microsoft terminal services-based environments.

This drive to provide hardware and software that allows for easy access to virtual desktops and virtual systems for enterprises companies, as well as the company's drive to improve the overall experience of people using thin clients in virtual environments, is a canny business plan that seems to be reaping rewards for Wyse at the moment, despite the economic downturn.

"Downturn? What downturn?" joked McNaught. "We have had three quarters of quarter on quarter growth and we are still hiring people," he said. The company now boasts an annual turnover now of $250 million (£168 million).