Citrix announced today one of the most exciting end user client initiatives in its history. Since there were no new features or cool demos, as an end user you may not have noticed. Called HDX Ready System on a Chip (or SoC), the initiative doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue so your lack of notice wouldn’t be entirely unexpected. However the impact of this initiative will soon be felt by all end users and IT alike!

Initially supported by Fujitsu, LG, Texas Instruments, Dell, Huawei, HP, Wyse, VXL, NComputing and DevonIT, with NComputing and Texas Instruments providing the initial SoC reference design, this initiative has the potential to dramatically change and evolve the desktop business. By providing a low-cost embedded reference design for HDX Ready capabilities, these partners – along with a extensive list of other vendors that weren’t ready to attach their names quite yet – are exploring ways to create completely new end points as well as leverage the design to create thin clients at dramatically lower price points.

Unlike other implementations of protocols in the hardware, HDX Ready System-On-a-Chip is a standards-based reference designs that are designed to keep up with innovation in both hardware and HDX. Other hardware technologies like PCoIP-based cards are proprietary and expensive, and force customers to go through a major upgrade of the entire system in order to get the benefits of latest innovations. HDX SoCs, on the other hand, are standards-based reference designs that deliver HDX optimizations in both software and hardware. This intelligent design offers our customers flexibility to easily adopt new innovations in HDX without going through a major hardware upgrade.

To give you some ideas on what we’re likely to see let me suggest that we’ve talked to partners about creating HDX Ready displays, keyboards and even mice! That is, you buy a display or a keyboard and all you have to do is plug it into a XenDesktop enabled network and you get the full HDX experience. While new form factors are interesting, we’re hoping that the other side of the equation – the price equation – will have an equal or greater impact on the marketplace. Citrix is focused on dramatically lowering the bill of materials for HDX Ready systems. We believe that in the not too distant future we can deliver reference designs that will cost our partners well below $50 to create and manufacture. This should very clearly enable new HDX Ready clients that retail for under $100. Clients at this price will demolish the last hurdle for massive virtual desktop adoption.

More information on this initiative will be available in the coming months and one thing will be certain, by this time next year the impact of this initiative will be positively experienced by all Citrix customers and end users!