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Why eMMC Makes New-Crop Low-Budget Devices Cheap

Right now, you can buy an el-cheapo HP Windows laptop for $200. It’s designed to compete with Chromebooks, while offering a more familiar (and complete) computing experience — at least, in the minds of some — than the “other platform” can provide. Curious as to what’s inside the New HP Stream 11 (official product name: HP Stream – 11 – d010nr Laptop) after reading about it on Paul Thurrot’s SuperSite for Windows, I wandered over to HP’s specs page to learn more about what makes this device tick.

hpstream

Thurrott loves the look of the new HP Stream 11; I see it as just another 11″ notebook, albeit a very inexpensive one.

Here’s what HP provides buyers for their $200 bucks. It’s not overwhelming, and to me it’s very reminiscent of what those of us who decided to give netbooks a try about 5 years ago were likely to encounter, updated to reflect more modern OSes and mobile device components:

HP Stream 11 Specifications
Item Details
Processor 2.16 GHz dual-core Intel Celeron N284
Operating System Windows 8.1 x63 with Bing
Graphics Intel HD Graphics
Display 11.6″ WLED-backlit 1366×768
Memory 2GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Hard disk 32 GB eMMC
Wireless 802.11 b/g/n, BT 4.0
Power Supply 45W AC adapter
Battery 3-cell, 37 Wh Li-polymer
Ports USB3x1, USB2x1, HDMI, audio
Expansion slots SD card reader
Energy Efficiency Energy Star qualified; EPEAT Silver
Webcam HP TrueVision Webcam with digital mike
Audio DTS Sound+
Color Horizon blue
Pointing device HP ImagePad with multi-touch gesture
Keyboaerd 97% size island-style
Dimensions 11.81×8.1×0.78″
Weight 2.74 lbs (1.24 kg)
Warranty 1-year limited
Software Included See specs page: bottom row of table

The secrets to the low price come primarily from four elements. First, the Windows 8.1 with Bing option involves no MS license costs to HP, and brings the price down by $50-80 right there. Second, the Celeron processor is a no-frills workhorse that provides basic functionality sans bells and whistles, and in large lots, can’t cost more than $20 apiece. 2 GB of memory isn’t the absolute minimum, but it’s a workable amount; in large quantities, such SO-DIMMs probably cost $10. The real secrets to the low cost of the device are the slow but cheap eMMC storage device (“eMMC” stands for embedded MultiMediaCard, which is essentially the same kind of flash chips and controller found in an SD card or a low-end UFD, with low speeds to match; less than $25 in large quantities) and the all-plastic clamshell enclosure for the laptop itself. The device is a close match for many Chromebooks in components and by no coincidence whatsoever, also in cost.

Now, it remains to be seen if there’s an appetite for such devices. I’m planning on buying one for my son’s 5th grade class at school. His fourth-grade teacher loved the Chromebook I gave her for that class to use. Now, we’ll see if a workable Windows analog gets the same reception.

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Is single image management a core component of your desktop management strategy?
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yes - currently solved with VDI on vmware horizon/view on win7, then reusing the same base image - doing asimple conversion and reusing it for physical pc's in a single image rollout with Zcm.
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we are evaluating several platforms for providing desktop could services to our clients.
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Clarification on VHD streaming from Citrix. Citrix continues to offer "Streamed VHD" desktops as one of the FlexCast delivery models included in XenDesktop. Streaming an OS on demand to diskless PCs has some great use cases for homogenious PCs in a LAN-based environment popular in training rooms, schools and lab environments.
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HP, through the acquisition of Neoware, also has a disk streaming solution, named HP Image Manager. Shouldn't we expect some kind of head-to-head competition between HP and Dell in disk streaming? This would be great for the users since we could then expect some innovations on both sides.
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Much will depend on how WSM manages the changes done on individual client-level. However perhaps for many companies targeting task workers, this may be the way to achieve VDI benefits without really doing VDI.
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We have been using a single unified image for 12 years or more..
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The ones saying this does not require VDA are wrong. To stream Windows (ex.: with PVS) you need VDA. This is explained in the Windows VDI faqs, Citrix site and can also be derived from EULA and PUR.
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Sorry. You should read VDA as VDA or Software Assurance.
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