Dell's new computing appliance brings Windows apps to Chromebooks

Having bought Wyse back in 2012, Dell is combining its virtualization technology and server hardware for a new computing appliance, making it easy to run Windows on Chrome OS.

After debuting its own Chromebook for education last year, Dell is turning its Chrome OS attention to offices. The company announced on Tuesday a new computing appliance to deliver Windows applications on Chromebooks.

In tandem with virtualization software, one Dell Appliance for Wyse - vWorkspace can serve up Windows apps to up to 350 Chromebooks or Chromeboxes. Dell says the cost starts at $180 per user for the server hardware and licenses, hypervisor and vWorkspace broker. The Chrome OS devices can also be managed or deployed through the new appliance.

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Essentially, the product is a custom implementation of Dell's PowerEdge R730 and T630 servers bringing remote Windows desktop and applications on Chrome OS, with users working within the Chrome browser.

Individuals can already do this natively on Chromebooks with the Chrome Remote Desktop tool that's native to Google's desktop platform: I've done just that with the Chromebook Pixel connected to a low-cost HP Stream 13 laptop for some Java coding.

But in small offices and school districts -- the primary audience for Dell's latest product -- I.T. groups need to maintain some control. So having employees remotely connect to various Windows machines through a Chromebook or Chromebox isn't ideal for daily use or deployment purposes.

To that end, Dell touts its Appliance for Wyse - vWorkspace as a simple solution: It's pre-configured with the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) software already installed. The company says once the unit is powered on and network connected, you're off and running to get Windows desktop and apps on Chromebooks.

See also: One month with the new Chromebook Pixel: Still impressive for my needs