Amazon aims to revolutionize end-user computing with WorkSpaces Thin Client
With Alexa in several products across Amazon.com Inc.’s portfolio, from streaming sticks to smart speakers, TVs and home hubs, accessible end-user computing hardware has evidently been one of the company’s focal areas.
More importantly, the company is extending that same low-cost, high-capability ethos to the enterprise level through its new virtual desktop hardware: the Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client device.
“This is for customers to exclusively access fully managed Chrome,” said Muneer Mirza (pictured), general manager of end-user of computing at Amazon Web Services Inc. “Why have a desktop when you spend all day in the browser? That’s what that product’s all about. We’re really stoked to … talk about the Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client [because], as you said, innovation is key. This is one of those things that we started by listening to customers and working backward from that.”
Mirza spoke with theCUBE industry analyst John Furrier at the “Supercloud 5: The Battle for AI Supremacy” event, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the new offering as part of Amazon’s overarching end-user computing portfolio.
Key features: simplicity, cloud benefits and seamless performance
The Thin Client is a small cube that connects directly to a monitor, keyboard, mouse and other USB input/output peripherals, such as microphones or headsets. With the optional hub, it can also drive a second monitor. The administrator can create environments that give users access to Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon WorkSpaces Web or Amazon AppStream.
Price is the gatekeeper factor for any product’s success or failure. Based on the Fire TV Cube, the Thin Client is priced at $195 and aims to disrupt the market by offering a cost-effective solution for end users. The strategic move is to challenge the status quo of expensive laptops and reduce the total cost of ownership for corporate workers, according to Mirza.
“We wanted to be innovative and get people thinking about these very expensive laptops that they’re buying and securing for their end users. In many cases, those run from $600 to $1,200,” he explained. “We started with the Fire TV Cube, and we said, ‘What if we could take that and repurpose it without having to do any manufacturing?’ So, we took it, we built a custom operating system [with] custom firmware and custom software, and we’re able to take those cost avoidances for manufacturing and pass that exclusively as cost savings to customers.”
The Thin Client stands out due to its small size, lightweight design and quick setup, taking just five minutes to go from unboxing to productivity. Also important is the security aspect — the device has no data at rest and restricts users from installing applications, addressing common concerns about device security and data leakage, according to Mirza.
The device is seamlessly integrated with Amazon WorkSpaces and uses high-performance streaming protocols. Its interaction with edge services ensures efficient pixel streaming, catering to remote workers’ needs and alleviating the challenges of the last mile in network connectivity, Mirza added.
“We need a very secure and very high-performance protocol,” he said. “We have our WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol, and we’re evolving that and constantly iterating on it. From there, it goes to all the different ways that we use the cloud, like our edge services, to be able to actually get pixels streamed from the cloud to the end users.”
Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the “Supercloud 5: The Battle for AI Supremacy” event:
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