LG to produce monitor with virtualization technology

Flat screen monitors are displayed at the headquarters of LG Display, the world's No. 2 maker of liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, in Paju about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul March 13, 2009. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - LG Electronics will start selling this month flatscreen monitors that can function as virtual computers, saving costs by allowing multiple users to run programs off a single standard PC.

LG’s new liquid crystal display SmartVine N-series monitors will include embedded “virtualization” technology from U.S.-based NComputing Inc. Users can connect a keyboard and mouse directly to the monitor, which will in turn connect to a standard PC.

Through virtualization, the LG monitor will allow as many as 11 users to share a single PC for a total cost of roughly $3,000, NComputing said.

Virtualization refers to technology that allows one computer to perform the work of many machines.

“Every single one of our workstations needs a monitor, so why not build our technology directly into the monitor,” said Stephen Dukker, chief executive of privately held NComputing.

Dukker previously founded and was CEO of low-cost PC outfit eMachines, which was eventually sold to Gateway in 2004.

A 19-inch SmartVine N-series monitor will list at $199 in the U.S. The displays, which LG will begin marketing globally this month, can also be used as traditional monitors and will work with both Windows and Linux computers.

LG said the target market for the monitors is mainly education and service environments such as call centers. LG shipped more than 15 million monitors in 2008.

Redwood City, California-based NComputing has around 200 employees but does not release financial data. Its technology allows a standard PC to be shared by a number of users, dramatically reducing costs. More than 50 percent of its sales are in emerging markets.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing Bernard Orr