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What does the Nvidia, VMware and Google partnership mean for VDI?

Nvidia, VMware and Google have teamed up to deliver quality graphics on low-cost Chromebooks. Though the devices' enterprise readiness has been questioned in the past, this collaboration could garner a double take.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Virtual desktops on Chromebooks haven’t always had the best quality, but that might be about to change.

VMware's partnership with Google and Nvidia will bring high-quality graphics to virtual desktops running on Chromebooks.

Delivering virtual desktops and graphics to the browser-based Chromebook has been possible in the past, but the quality suffered because the devices lacked sufficient performance capabilities. The Acer Chromebook 13 -- which Nvidia demoed on the show floor at VMworld 2014 here this week --aims to fix that problem. It has the company's Tegra K1 chip built in, as well as a custom, next-generation version of VMware's Blast protocol to decode the graphics.

The high cost of work stations has made delivering graphics on virtual desktops expensive in the past, according to marketing reps from VMware and Google during a session here. The software is available, but the hardware most companies have in place isn't up to snuff, and it's expensive to purchase new. But this partnership between VMware, Google and Nvidia makes delivering the desktops and applications workers need  a little easier and cheaper, and with a good user experience to boot.

One advantage of the Chromebook with the TK1 chip is that it's fanless, easy to use and boasts 13 hours of battery life. Because the thin client laptops are browser-based, experts have questioned their enterprise chops, but the ability to deliver Windows desktops without a client on an inexpensive piece of hardware with impressive graphics capabilities calls for a second look.

The Acer Chromebook 13 currently costs about $300 and is available for presale. Version 2.0 of the Blast protocol is in tech preview.

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