Amazon Launches Sub-$200 Thin Clients

Amazon has repurposed its Fire TV Cube device for streaming media to function as a thin client for enterprises with large fleets of virtual desktop workers.

Announced as part of its 2023 re:Invent conference taking place this week, the new Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client is a cube-shaped piece of hardware that allows its user to access their virtual desktop running in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. 

Amazon essentially used the bones of its consumer-oriented Fire TV Cube to create a device to meet the hardware scalability needs of its enterprise customers. The WorkSpaces Thin Client is touted as a cost-effective alternative to an organization having to ship laptops or tablets to its remote workers. Instead of spending close to $2,000 for each end user device, an organization can spend just $195 for each base model of the WorkSpaces Thin Client.

It's also designed to simplify the process of setting up, onboarding and managing end user devices. IT departments can ship each WorkSpaces Thin Client device to its user already pre-configured with the exact software, permissions and security controls they require. Upon receiving the device, the user can then plug in their monitor, keyboard and other peripherals into the cube's various ports, and then begin accessing their virtual desktop within minutes. Management of the devices is centralized via the AWS Management Console.

Amazon says the new WorkSpaces Thin Client is ideal for businesses with high numbers of remote workers (think call centers) and "high-turnover environments." 

"For workers in any industry with high end user computing costs and a distributed workforce, the Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client provides a low-cost device that is shipped directly to employees and makes it easy to access a personalized virtual desktop and apps with a few clicks, increasing productivity and streamlining IT management," the company said in a blog post Sunday.

WorkSpaces Thin Client is purpose-built to mitigate security risks stemming from device theft or employee turnover, per Amazon. "Because it is powered by the AWS Cloud, the device itself does not store data and only runs approved software centrally deployed by an IT administrator," the company said. "This reduces vulnerabilities if a device is lost or an employee leaves the company and hangs onto their device. ... With Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client devices, all data remains secure in the cloud and the device contains no local data."

At the hardware level, security measures include "on-device hardware authentication and integration with persistent desktops (WorkSpaces), nonpersistent applications (Amazon AppStream), and secure browser-only access (WorkSpaces Web), which creates a secure connection to a user's desktop in the cloud." 

The WorkSpaces Thin Client is now available for purchase within the United States, and works with the following virtual desktop services: Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon WorkSpaces Web and Amazon AppStream 2.0.

Pricing entails a one-time device fee -- $195 for the base model or $280 for a dual-monitor setup -- and a device service fee of $6 per unit, per month. (This does not include the cost of the virtual desktop service itself.)

More information on the WorkSpaces Thin Client is available here.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.


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