Google, Nvidia and VMware team up to bring graphics-intensive apps to Chromebooks

VMworld2014-Acer-Chromebook-CAD

VMware, Google and Nvidia are all teaming up in a scheme which will allow high-end graphics intensive applications to be used on a lowly Chromebook.

How will that work? Obviously a Chromebook doesn't have the horsepower to run heavyweight programs such as, say, Photoshop or AutoCAD, but the laptop won't be running it in this case. The software will run in the cloud, on powerful machines in data centers, and be streamed to the notebook.

Of course, this isn't a new concept, but the technology being used to do it is fresh.

The system employs Nvidia Grid vGPU tech to provide the grunt to multiple virtual desktops, combined with VMware Horizon in the data centre, and VMware BLAST Performance technology both in the data centre and the Chromebook's firmware.

The upshot being you'll be able to run Autodesk AutoCAD or indeed Microsoft Office fluidly on a Chromebook, or rather, the upcoming generation of Nvidia Tegra K1-powered Chromebooks. Check out the video below to see what sort of virtual desktop experience you can expect in the future.

Caesar Sengupta, VP of product management at Google, commented: "Chromebooks were designed to bring a new approach to many of the problems with traditional computers. We're excited about what this collaboration means for our customers and what it can enable them to do. Imagine manufacturers designing complex 3D models and sharing them with engineers around the globe, or physicians taking medical imaging out into the community, rather than being tethered to high-end workstations".

So when can you get on board? At the moment this is a tech preview, but you can sign up for an early access scheme to experience VMware meshed with vGPU, with that program starting in Q4 this year. And, as already mentioned, the solution will be on board the firmware of K1-toting Chromebooks, one of the first of which will be the Acer Chromebook 13.

Citrix, of course, has its own plans for virtualized solutions and Chrome OS, as we saw last week.

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