HP unveils thin clients fat enough to run native apps

Three thin clients from HP have enough processing power and memory to run applications natively — either on Windows XPe or Debian Linux

HP is preparing to launch three thin clients — including one laptop thin client — with enough processing power and memory to run local applications. All three come without hard drives and are designed to run remote applications as a terminal or run local applications that are managed remotely.

Both desktop thin clients have the same specs, with a 1GHz AMD Sempron 2100+ processor, 1GB of flash memory and either 512MB or 1GB of RAM. Both also come with terminal emulation clients, including ICA and RDP, and Altiris and HP ThinState software for deployment. The only difference is in the operating system and the price: the HP Compaq t5375 with Debian Linux 4.0 costs £302, excluding VAT, while the Windows XP Embedded-based t5370 costs £432, excluding VAT.

HP said the two desktop thin clients will be available in February, and the HP Compaq 6720t Mobile thin client, for which no UK pricing is currently available, will be available in the second quarter for $725 (£370). HP Compaq 6720t Mobile is also based on Microsoft Windows XP Embedded and features a 15.4-inch display, and solid-state design, with no hard drive, fan or other moving parts, the company said.

All the thin clients are the fruit of the company's $214m acquisition of Neoware in 2007. HP said it had bought Neoware for the latter's expertise in thin client and virtualisation software for centralised management of corporate desktops. Neoware was combined with the business desktop unit of HP's PC business. HP said the deal would "boost our Linux business".

HP has a close relationship with Citrix, whose senior vice president for delivery systems, Gordon Payne, said the two companies are working to build "seamless interoperability" between their systems.

Andrew Gee, the sales manager for HP remote client solutions, was originally with Neoware and came over to HP when the company was acquired. "At Neoware we only ever looked at the desktop; now we are part of HP, we can provide an end-to-end thin-client solution," he told ZDNet.co.uk.

"This will come with a range of options, including an option for two screens," Gee said. "This will make it popular for applications in the City of London, for example, where the typical dealing room is set up so that each trader has at least two screens but space is at a premium. A thin-client solution is ideal there."

 HP's desktop thin clients may prove a boon for space-starved City of London traders