HP Sees Accelerated Push for Enterprise Chromebooks, Thin Clients

By | Managed Services News

May 05

HP broadens its Chromebook portfolio with three new systems and two thin clients.

HP will roll out new enterprise Chromebooks and thin clients including its first based on Intel’s Project Athena.

Among the five new enterprise Chromebooks and thin clients launched on Tuesday, two will ship this month. One of the two, the HP Chromebook 14G6 for frontline workers, is available now starting at $399. The three other systems will arrive this summer. They include the high-end Project Athena-based HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise.

HP has offered Chromebooks for more than a decade, but consumers and students are the usual targets. Similarly, HP has a long history of offering thin clients for traditional VDI deployments.

HP’s latest rollout of enterprise Chromebooks and thin clients cover a wide range of workers, usage scenarios and performance capabilities.

Techanalysis's Bob O'Donnell

Technalysis’ Bob O’Donnell

“They’re diversifying the Chromebook line even more because they see a multitiered group of people using them,” said Bob O’Donnell. He’s the founder and principal analyst with TECHnalysis Research.

“The reality is Chromebooks were always best suited for organizations that primarily run SaaS or web applications,” O’Donnell said. “The problem was a lot of companies were very slow in doing that. Well, guess what? They’ve suddenly sped up all those efforts because of COVID. It’s not going to happen overnight, but there are a lot more companies who are starting to do more of that. And so Chromebooks all of a sudden become a more viable option in those environments.”

Before the COVID crisis, HP was already forecasting higher demand for enterprise Chromebooks and thin clients for mobile workers.

At the same time, many organizations were still reluctant to let firstline workers and other employees to work at home. After the pandemic suddenly shut down millions of offices and facilities two months ago, organizations have eased their stances.

As of mid-March, 72% of office employees were working at home, according to an HP survey. And 42% of IT managers have extended endpoint security and BYOD policies, according to the survey’s 1,100 respondents.

Chromebooks Rising

IDC last year forecast sales of Chromebooks to increase 61%.

During a media briefing, Andy Rhodes, HP’s global head of commercial systems, said demand is accelerating due to COVID-19. Rhodes said HP has shipped thousands of Chromebooks to companies that needed to suddenly equip their workers at home. While he declined to identify any customers, he said HP helped one major bank deploy 60,000 within weeks.

HP's Andy Rhodes

HP’s Andy Rhodes

“They shifted their strategy,” Rhodes said, in reference to the unnamed bank. “Business resilience is what it’s all about right now. And it’s going to continue to as we move as we move forward.”

Demand for Chromebooks will accelerate even after the COVID crisis subsides, said John Solomon, VP of Google’s Chrome OS group. As organizations shift to web and SaaS apps, typically 20% of work requires OS-native software, according to Soloman.

“There’s important work that still needs to be done on legacy applications,” Solomon said during HP’s briefing. “Virtualization [of those legacy applications] works extremely well, particularly on these more performant Chromebooks that HP is bringing to market.”

All three Chromebooks come with Google’s Chrome Enterprise, upgraded last summer.

HP says its highest performing new Chromebook, the HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise, will ship in August. There’s no price yet, but it will be HP’s premium enterprise Chromebook. As noted, the HP Elite c1030 is the company’s first Chromebook based on Intel’s Project Athena. Intel revealed Project Athena last year, which brought social scientists into its design team. Instead of designing capabilities in its labs, the engineers conducted their work in actual work environments.

The HP Elite c1030 is powered with …

About the Author