HP mt645 G8 thin client mobile PC

HP mt645 G8: The Rebirth of the Thin Client

Back when IBM mainframes and midrange computers were king, we had terminals. Like the TVs of the time, they had CRTs that needed to warm up, but the terminal was comparatively easy to use. It was more like a TV that only had one channel than a PC. Except for the time it took to warm up the screen, they were easy to use, could go years without maintenance or support, and except for the “light-pen” that was on mine (which I never figured out how to use), they were comparatively simple to operate.

There was an attempt to recreate the terminal back in the late 1990s by two PC-hating companies, Oracle and Sun Microsystems, that ended poorly because it is impossible to replace something by firms that fundamentally don’t understand what they’re trying to replace. Still, thin clients did have a small market of recurring users, mostly in call centers where the limitations on what employees were allowed to do fit the limitations of the product (no personal or local-running apps and a data-center-centric solution that mostly focused on sales or customer relationship management.

However, Oracle and Sun weren’t wrong that people wanted an appliance, they just didn’t understand PCs well enough to supply a better alternative. Well HP is currently the market leader among thin clients, and they do know PCs very well, but up until now, the mobile thin client solutions just haven’t been that good. With the announcement of the HP mt645 G8 Thin Client, that just changed.

Let me explain.

Why Mobile Thin Clients Suddenly Work

Part of the reason mobile thin clients suddenly look viable is the speed, availability, and reliability of 4G and Wi-Fi 6. 3G just didn’t have the bandwidth or low enough latency to be anything but annoying when connected back to a cloud service, which is where we connect modern thin clients, and that created a level of aggravation that limited adaptation. Now that 5G has launched and become available, wireless thin clients have become far less aggravating to use.

Security concerns have increased because of aggressive bad actors who are often allegedly backed by hostile governments. High-target industries want and need the far higher level of security that thin clients provide because thin clients only display data; they don’t retain it. So, a stolen thin client laptop is vastly more secure than a regular laptop because it carries little to no data. The data remains with the remote source. HP has added additional security features to the mt645 G8 from its Wolf security unit, including its unique security controller, which should make this thin client notebook the most secure notebook that HP currently sells.

So, faster, better, lower latency connectivity coupled with market-leading security makes this class of product more attractive for defense, finance (including banking), healthcare, law enforcement, big pharma, and potentially auto-development/racing. Any industry that prioritizes security over data should prefer thin clients as safer and more reliable.

mt645 G8

One ongoing problem with some thin client providers (like Dell, for instance) is their field of low-cost, cheap-looking clients. Users feel they are being punished for using the technology and tend to avoid it as a result. The mt645 G8 is comparable to HP’s higher-end notebooks. It doesn’t look cheap and has many of the same sustainability advantages as HP’s other premium laptop products, and as a result, users should be proud to carry this laptop. This is important because users who value their hardware tend to take better care of it.

A high-end camera, speakers, and other premium features coupled with an EPEAT Gold ranking for sustainability make it desirable.

Finally, this product can be configured with up to a 1,000-nit Sure View secure display for secure outdoor use, can be configured with either Windows IoT or Linux (ThinPro), and has HP’s unique security chip, making it (because it does not retain data) HP’s most secure mobile offering.

Wrapping Up

The HP mt645 G8 represents a massive improvement in terms of mobile thin clients. The product looks and behaves like a premium laptop, it has a rich port-out and feature set, and the combination of Wolf Security and the natural thin-client benefits coupled with HP’s advanced management capabilities make this the new standard for those wanting the benefits of a laptop, the simplicity of a terminal and the best security in any mobile offering.

I’ll close with the one time I was brought in on a thin client theft. A group of thieves broke into a new company and stole all its thin clients. The next morning, before the company opened, they were returned because the thieves not only couldn’t make them work, but no one wanted to buy stolen thin client products because, outside of a thin client solution, they were door stops.

Thin clients are coming back, and the HP mt645 G8 is leading the way.

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