Information Technology

Gartner Glossary

Terminal

A device, combining keyboard and display screen, that communicates with a computer. Terminals are divided into different classes depending on whether they are able to process data on their own.
• Dumb terminals — display monitor or simple input/output (I/O) devices that send and accept data from a network server or mainframe. They have no built-in processing capabilities. Workers enter data and commands, which are sent to a computer located elsewhere.
• Smart terminals — monitors that process limited amounts of information.
• Intelligent terminals — devices that contain main memory and a central processing unit (CPU) to perform special display functions. Examples include an information kiosk and AT&T Display Phones.
• 3270 terminals — IBM display stations used to communicate with mainframes made by IBM and other manufacturers. They are in widespread use, and are widely copied.

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