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One problem with cloud apps is that they generally only work when there's a network connection. Thick clients also make it possible for workers to continue being productive when they're in the field and connectivity isn't available, Gold said.
"You don’t want people stopping work just because they can't connect to the network," Gold said. "In thin-client mode, you're basically running a browser, HTML, Flash and Silverlight. Thick clients can run Java/J2ME, C++, Eclipse and Visual Studio apps."
Cost is also a factor in this discussion, since thin clients quickly become cost prohibitive if the network connection isn't unlimited. "In cases where data is expensive to transmit, thick clients are generally less expensive," Gold said. This trend is certain to continue as carriers move toward usage based pricing models.
It's also important to figure out if the enterprise application already has a mobile extension, and if so, whether it's available for thin or thick clients, Gold said. Given these wide ranging differences, Gold said most companies will require a hybrid approach that uses a combination of thin and thick clients to maximize reliability and functionality.
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