HP Unveils New Thin Client Hardware And Solutions

HP unveiled two new Atom processor-based thin clients, a sub-$200 thin client, and thin client-based education solutions.

The new thin client products and solutions are coming to market at the right time, said Tad Bodeman, HP's director of thin computing solutions Americas.

Employment is down, but a gradual economic recovery is helping push spending up, but not by a lot, Bodeman said. Meanwhile, companies are moving workers offshore or off-site, and are dealing with more home workers, all at the same time they are facing new issues around security and government regulations, he said.

However, the biggest change is the migration to Windows 7, which is giving businesses a chance to re-evaluate their PC infrastructures, Bodeman said.

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"Altogether, 2010 will be an exciting time for IT resellers," he said. "It's an inflection point: IT is coming together at around the same time customers are putting off refreshing their PCs."

HP sees this as an opportunity for solution providers and their customers to move to thin client computing, which Bodeman said lowers the cost of computing, cuts energy use, and increases productivity when compared to traditional PCs.

"This is creating a tremendous opportunity for resellers to really differentiate themselves instead of selling the same Windows 7 PCs everybody else is selling," he said.

New from HP this week are two new thin client devices based on the Intel Atom N280 processor.

The two new thin clients offer performance similar to that of traditional desktops, thanks to their ability to work with high-performance protocols such as RDP, RGS, Citrix HDX and VMware PCoIP (PC over IP).

Those protocols allow the heavy lifting of the applications to be done inside the data center, which helps ensure high performance on the customer side, Bodeman said. "So the demand on the processor is much lower with the thin clients," he said. "You could even watch a full-blown movie on the thin clients with no drag."

The two models include the t5740, which includes a Windows embedded operating system, and the t5745, which includes HP's ThinPro Linux operating system. The t5740 is list-priced starting at $429, while the t5745 starts at $399. Both are currently available.

HP on Tuesday also unveiled the t5325, its first sub-$200 thin client. The device is as small as a paperback book, and uses under 5 watts of power. When it ships early next month, it will offer customers local Web access and basic multimedia support, Bodeman said.

HP also introduced three new thin client solutions aimed at education markets, Bodeman said.

The first is the MultiSeat Solution, which ties an HP server with up to 10 t100 thin clients into a complete plug-and-play solution costing about $250 per student user.

The second is the HP TeachNow Solution, which ties a low-cost HP server with multiple t5740 thin clients and which allows teachers to quickly deploy Windows 7 desktop images related to a particular subject to the thin clients and switch those images for a different class at the touch of a button.

The third is a digital signage solution, which lets schools use thin clients to update digital signs.

HP on Tuesday also unveiled hardware and software to ease the deployment of thin clients under Citrix XenDesktop 4 and VMware View 4 virtual desktop environments, said Jeff Carlet, director of marketing for HP's infrastructure software and blades.

Included is the new HP WS460c G6 workstation blade, which allows thin client computing for applications that require the highest performance, such as in the oil and gas or the financial markets, where customers may run up to four displays, Carlet said.

The workstation blades feature Nehalem processors, and include Nvidia graphics and up to 96 GB of memory, he said.

Also new is the HP Client Automation 7.8 software, which allows customers to update and manage both physical and virtual clients across Citrix, VMware and Microsoft environments, Carlet said.