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HP Edges Up To Virtual Desktops With Mobile Thin Client

HP's 2533t is a mobile thin client with Windows XP Embedded and a gigabyte of flash memory inside.

Hewlett-Packard introduced a new thin client to its hardware line-up Monday. The HP 2533t is a mobile thin client, looking something like a thin notebook, with Windows XP Embedded and a Gigabyte of flash memory inside.

It's designed to work as a traveling device that links to either VMware's or Critix Systems virtualized desktops, giving road warriors a lightweight virtual Windows XP desktop on a 12-inch screen wherever they go. Unlike a laptop PC, it has an energy conserving processor from Taiwanese manufacturer, VIA Technologies, that yields 9.5 hours of battery life. Also, virtual desktops, being piped in over the network connection, don't require a power-hungry disk drive. The 2533t is priced at $825.

HP is a neutral thin client supplier to the virtual desktop market. It supports VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure as well as Citrix XenDesktop. It can run virtual machines generated by VMware, XenSource, or Microsoft Virtual Server. Last October, HP acquired thin client software supplier Neoware for $217 million for its software that connects thin clients to a wide variety of server hosts, said Tad Bodeman, director of the HP thin client and blade group.

HP is also investing in its Remote Graphics Software in order to improve its video performance and its interoperability with Citrix and VMware virtual desktop infrastructures. Remote Graphics Software was created by HP Labs for thin client users in financial services, health care, education and research, and engineering. It will be increasing its collaborative capabilities so developers may jointly work on Flash animations or hardware accelerated 2D and 3D applications, Bodeman said.

"RGS is a protocol that delivers video streaming from a blade PR or workstation to a thin client. We will work with leading virtualization vendors for a richer graphical environment," he said. Coordinating 2D and 3D video with audio narration could serve as a strong training tool in the enterprise compared to relying only on text, he said.

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