Samsung turns the Galaxy S8 into a thin client solution

samsung dex desktop experience displaying on monitor with keyboard

In a big move for businesses, Samsung has announced that its new Galaxy S8 can be used as a thin client solution for desktop virtualisation.

The company is offering the solution via its new Samsung DeX docking station, which allows users to plug in their S8 smartphone and use it in a full desktop environment, including mouse and keyboard support. It's got a specially-tailored user interface for desktop mode, along with window and taskbar functionality.

In addition to working with Adobe and Microsoft to offer optimised versions of their business apps for desktop mode, the company has also partnered with Citrix, VMWare and AWS to offer their desktop virtualisation services on the Samsung DeX, allowing enterprise customers to access all their Windows programs and business applications without having to carry a laptop around with them.

“The Samsung DeX lets people use their Galaxy S8 like a desktop computer, using solutions, including Citrix Receiver, XenApp and XenDesktop, as our preferred technologies to enable customers to securely access and use their Windows and browser-based applications, just as they would with a traditional laptop,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the mobile communications business at Samsung Electronics. “This is not science fiction, this is true, business-driven innovation.”

Citrix explained this could mean fieldworkers are able to collect data while visiting customers, and then when they return to the office, they can just hook up their device to Samsung DeX and Citrix Receiver to collate the report using a desktop-like interface.

“While many people use their smartphones for business, they usually turn to a laptop or desktop when they need to use Windows or browser-based apps,” said Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research.

“Even though VDI or app virtualisation lets them run Windows applications on their smartphone, the Windows experience does not always translate well to a small touchscreen. To address this issue, vendors have worked to develop solutions that make it easier to connect smartphones to a keyboard, mouse and a monitor. The solution that succeeds has significant market potential.”

Citrix also announced its XenMobile solution will support Samsung's Enterprise Firmware-Over-The-Air (E-FOTA), giving administrators more control when users want to upgrade their devices, preventing them from installing certain updates if they don't feel it's secure enough.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.