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Citrix unveils new thin client and it’s a sub-$100 Pi

Mobility

Las Vegas, NV – Chances are that as an IT professional, you have at the very least heard of the Raspberry Pi.

The credit card-sized single-board low-cost computers with the goal of bringing computer science to schools and developing countries was likely of little use to the channel other than as a curiosity or hobby.

But all that could change very soon.

At its Synergy conference desktop virtualization software vendor Citrix unveiled The HDX Ready Pi, a collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to create what it calls the cheapest thin client ever.

At about the size of a box of cigarettes and priced at “below $89 to $99” (Citrix wouldn’t commit to a price as it will be sold by ViewSonic and Micro Center in North America) the device is meant to undercut both the PC and other thin clients.

“If something burns, it’s a throwaway,” Bill Burley, Citrix corporate vice president and general manager of workspace services told the audience at the Day 2 keynote. He explained that the cost enables businesses to upgrade devices much faster than if they were tied down to costly PCs.

“It’s changing your capex strategy,” he said.

For the The HDX Ready Pi to be a Citrix device, it must of course come with software.

Built on top of the Raspberry Pi 3 hardware is the Citrix HDX virtual desktop platform as well as ViewSonic Linux.

This enables the device to make use of XenDesktop and XenApps.

According to Citrix, the HDX System on Chip (SoC) Receiver SDK enables off-loading to the Raspberry Pi GPU and achieves hardware acceleration with the SoC Quadcore ARM Processor.

The Linux OS is secure and contains the Citrix receiver and allows for device management functions such as firmware updates, remote configuration, and plug and play deployment.

According to Michael Murphy, Citrix Canada country manager, while the device seems like an education or SMB move, it’s not necessarily the intention.

He says the company received a fair amount of interest from the healthcare industry judging by a recent demo at the HIMSS health IT conference.

“It’s just another purpose built, disposable thin client, in an affordable small form factor,” he said.

It is available now for pre-order from ViewSonic, and is expected to ship in June.