All the major business PC manufacturers in Australia -- except Apple -- announced products based on Intel's vPro desktop platform this week.
First announced in the US in April, a key feature of vPro is remote management where hardware diagnosis and asset management exercises can be conducted remotely. For instance, an IT manager would be able to log-in from home and do a count of free hard drives or RAM slots on powered-down machines (at the office).
Apple Australia has yet to announce plans to support vPro although it said that iMac desktops are now equipped with Intel's Core 2 Duo processors. "No announcement has been made with regards to vPro," said Apple Australia spokesperson Fiona Martin.
Australian vPro desktops will be available from Dell, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Optima. Acer vPro machines will start at AU$1,999 and be available from mid-September, a spokesperson told ZDNet Australia. HP is expected to announce pricing on Monday. vPro management consoles will be available from LANDesk, Altiris and StarSoftComm.
Intel has been on a platform kick for the last several years, trying to shift its image from that of a microprocessor maker to a supplier of the major pieces needed to run a PC. This includes the processor, the chipset connecting the processor to the rest of the system, and networking technology, a combination Intel first hit upon with its Centrino notebook package of chips. vPro desktops comprise three components -- an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Q965 Express chipset and 82566 DC Gigabit Ethernet Controller.
IDC New Zealand analyst Mujin Kang expects vPro to do well in the enterprise space. "Businesses who've had problems with security in the past will welcome vPro since security is enforced at the hardware layer rather than software.
"And desktops consuming less power is a definite positive. But since it's a new platform, it may be too costly for SMBs who usually don't have large budgets."
Intel is counting on the success of brands like vPro and chips like the Core 2 Duo to lift it out of a year-long stupor. Earlier this week it announced plans to cut US$2 billion in costs by eliminating a total of 10,500 positions this year and next.
CNET NEWS.com's Tom Krazit contributed to this story.