Amazon has been selling versions of its Fire TV Cube streaming video set-top box for a while. In fact, you can get one for a Cyber Monday discount of just $109.99 right now. However, the folks at Amazon have decided to use the Fire TV Cube hardware as the basis for a new thin client that’s made to access Amazon Web Services and its cloud computing options.
In a blog post, Melissa Stein, the director of product for End User Computing at AWS, described how the idea for repurposing the Fire TV Cube came about:
“Customers told us they needed a lower-cost device, especially in high-turnover environments, like call centers or payment processing,” said Stein. “We looked for options and found that the hardware we used for the Amazon Fire TV Cube provided all the resources customers needed to access their cloud-based virtual desktops. So, we built an entirely new software stack for that device, and since we didn’t have to design and build new hardware, we’re passing those savings along to customers.”
The new product is called the Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client. On the outside, it looks like a Fire TV Cube, with its USB and HDMI ports now used to connect to PC monitors, a mouse and keyboard, and other accessories.
Inside the hardware, the WorkSpaces Thin Client has new software including an operating system designed to connect to cloud services like Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon WorkSpaces Web, or Amazon AppStream.
Amazon says that normally, you would have to buy a notebook or PC that might cost hundreds of dollars to connect to these cloud-based computing services. However, the prices for the Fire TV Cube-based Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Clients begin at $195. Amazon can also pre-configure these clients for businesses and ship them to offices or home offices, and users can get connected to AWS services in less than five minutes.