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HP releases ‘power user’ thin client

Calling a thin client a device for power users may seem like an oxymoron, but Hewlett-Packard is giving it a try.

At HP’s Global Partner Conference (GPC) 2012, the company released two thin client devices, including one it says is a potential replacement for desktops used by knowledge workers. The update is the first to HP thin clients in two years.

The new models include increased processing power delivered directly at the desktop to improve multimedia and graphics capability.

The high-end HP thin client runs an AMD G-series, 1.65 GHz Fusion processor with an integrated Radeon graphics capability.

Power users that replace a desktop computer with the high-end HP thin client system, the t610, “are not going to notice any degradation in their experience.” said Jeff Groudan, who heads HP’s global thin client operation.

That may be so. But thin client deployments are dependent on backend capabilities , including the number of VDI sessions the servers are handling as well as the responsiveness of the network and storage.

“It’s always a management story,” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at IDC.

Growing user demand for IT support of personal devices, including tablets, smartphones and laptops, may help spur backend upgrades to support thin client deployments. Demand for bring-your-own-device support could prompt more IT organisations to adopt VDI, which can be used to support personal devices and thin clients.

“Thin clients may be able to ride the coattails of things like the iPad,” said O’Donnell.

Thin clients are gaining traction with businesses.

IDC sees the worldwide installed base of thin clients growing from about 16.1 million last year to nearly 33 million by 2015.

IDC expects that five million thin client units will ship globally this year, a 15% increase from last year. That number represents around 7% of the total number PCs corporate users will buy this year, said O’Donnell.

Along with the t610, HP in March is slated the t510 running a VIA Eden X2 U4200 1 GHz dual core chip. This model is designed for purpose-built uses, such as a call center.

The t5010 is priced from $250 and the t610 from $399.

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