A Desktop Edge for Intel?

PC makers are ready to start showing off business desktops outfitted with the vPro technology Intel unveiled back in April.

Desktop vPro systems will be shown at two events in New York next week.

Essentially, vPro is a bundle of management, virtualization and security technologies (Intel Active Management and Virtualization Technology, AMT and VT respectively). The first vPro implementation will be in business PCs powered by Intel’s latest processor, the Core 2 Duo.

Intel took the wraps off the Core 2 Duo, known as “Conroe” while in development, last month.

At a media event on September 6 called “Taking Care of Business,” HP  plans to show off a new line of Core 2 Duo-based business desktops with vPro. Likewise, Intel itself plans to focus on vPro at its regional Premiere IT Professional conference September 7.

An invitation sent to internetnews.com lists Lenovo, LANdesk HP/Altiris, CA, Gateway and others among the companies participating in Intel’s vPro technology showcase.

Neither Intel or HP would comment further on their plans ahead of the events.

For now, it’s not clear how quickly or widely corporate customers will jump to adopt the new technology, according to analysts.

“In some ways it’s like Intel’s other brand for consumers, Viiv, which has been slow to take off,” Richard Shim, analyst with IDC, told internetnews.com.

Shim said it’s not known how much more PCs outfitted with vPro and Intel’s latest Core 2 Duo processor will cost, but he expects there to be a premium since it’s new technology.

“When we ask IT managers, they always say security and network manageability are their top priorities,” said Shim. “But then you ask what they’re willing to pay more for, and those priorities end up farther down the list.”

Both Shim and Nathan Brookwood, analyst with Insight64, agree that vPro gives Intel an edge over AMD-based desktops, which lack the same management and security features.

“Intel is going to offer something AMD  can’t offer with any of its standard enterprise desktops,” said Brookwood.

“One example is vPro gives IT the ability to wake up desktops on the network in a secure manner, even if they’re turned off, and service them without having to physically visit them. That’s a big deal.

“On the other hand, there are customers who aren’t ready to implement something like this or would rather wait for a solution based on a more open industry standard,” said Brookwood.

Shim noted vPro gives developers an enhanced baseline of management features to build on. He expects security software and other developers to offer products and services that build on vPro’s features.

Intel said earlier it expects to offer vPro’s management and security features for mobile platforms sometime next year.

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