Amazon today announced that they are turning old Fire TV cubes into desktop computers for companies. This new Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client uses old Fire TVs as desktop computers for companies.
These new $195 Fire TV Cubes run a custom-built OS on Amazon Web Services (AWS). They allow companies to quickly get employees online and work cheaper than many of the other options out there. This allows companies to replace expensive laptops and desktops with cheap Fire TV Cubes for everyday office work.
“Customers told us they needed a lower-cost device, especially in high-turnover environments, like call centers or payment processing,” said Mellisa Stein, director of product for End User Computing at AWS. “We looked for options and found that the hardware we used for the Amazon Fire TV Cube provided all the resources customers needed to access their cloud-based virtual desktops. So, we built an entirely new software stack for that device, and since we didn’t have to design and build new hardware, we’re passing those savings along to customers.”
Sadly, these computers are not for sale to the general public right now. Instead, they are being sold directly to companies who are looking to use AWS to replace Windows or Google’s Chromebooks. Amazon says their $195 Fire TV Cubes can replace a typical computer that costs $600 to $1,200 each. Instead of running your apps and more on the Fire TV Cube it will instead stream them from Amazon’s AWS service.
“Simplicity was key, and it just works out of the box,” Stein said. “IT leaders can easily manage their entire organization’s device fleet centrally and typically have an employee up and running in a few minutes, compared to hours or days with traditional laptops and desktops.”
These Fire TV Cubes seem to be the older Fire TV Cubes, not the newest model. If they are unchanged just with a new operating system, they come with 16GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, and a Hexa-core 2.2GHz and 1.96GHz processor. It’s more than powerful enough to run a vertical desktop.
Here is how Amazon describes these new Fire TV Cubes:
Cost – The device itself is low cost ($195 in the United States), far less expensive than a laptop and the associated operating system. Because the working environments are centrally configured and administered, there’s less work to be done in the field, leading to further cost savings. Further, the devices are far simpler than laptops, with less parts to break, wear out, or replace.
Security – The devices are shipped with a secure “secret” that is used to establish a trust relationship with the administrative service. There’s no data storage on the device, and it cannot host rogue apps that could attempt to exfiltrate data. It also helps to reduce risk of data leakage should a worker leave their job without returning their employer-supplied laptop.
Ease of Management – Administrators can easily create new environments for users or groups of users, distribute activation codes to them, and manage the environment via the AWS Management Console. They can set schedules for software updates and patches, verify compliance, and manage users over time.
Ease of Use – Users can unpack and connect the devices in minutes, enter their activation codes, log in to their virtual desktop environment, and start to work right away. They don’t have to take responsibility for installing software patches or updates, and can focus on their jobs.