The Friday Notebook: March 31, 2017

Featuring Samsung’s “Nirvana” phone, Dell Wyse, ControlUp, Jo Harder on Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop Essentials, Apple EMM updates, AMD, Lookout, and more.

Here’s what happened and what was interesting in the enterprise mobility and end user computing space in the week leading up to March 31, 2017.


Dell announced their new Wyse 3040 thin clients. The 3040 features an Intel Atom X5 quad-core x86 processor and runs either Wyse ThinOS or Wyse ThinLinux. It’s aimed for light multitasking, supports two monitors, and includes a USB 3.0 port among its four total USB ports. It supports HDX, RDP, and PCoIP, and will support VMware’s Blast protocol later this summer. That’s a lot of power in a small package that’s priced at $329!

ControlUp, makers of a product that Gabe once called “The free management tool I wish I had when I was a full-time admin,” announced that they’ve raised $10M in Series B funding. It’s clear that ControlUp’s grassroots popularity among admins is helping them grow their business, and based on their history of useful improvements, we expect to see great things out of the ControlUp team in the future.

Samsung’s new flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, will be able to dock with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard and power a desktop-like environment, based on Android. People have been talking about this “Nirvana phone” concept for years, and I just got done testing another iteration, the Windows 10 Mobile-powered and Continuum-enabled HP Elite x3. When you do the math, I think there are limited use cases for this concept, but Samsung is the biggest OEM to get behind the idea and this will be the most popular phone to ever support it, so the Galaxy S8 could have the best chance of succeeding of any Nirvana phone ever. For details and my initial thoughts, see Wednesday’s article. Hopefully I’ll be getting my hands on a review unit soon, so we can see how it compares to the Elite x3.

Apple rolled out a bunch of EMM updates—here are links to what’s new in iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and macOS 10.12.4. Russ Mohr, of MobileIron, and Aaron Freimark, of and Ground Control, recorded a great podcast going over the highlights. New features include the new Apple file system, MDM for tvOS (which I wrote about here), several new iOS Supervised mode controls, and support for OAuth for Exchange in iOS Mail (which means auto discovery is possible). Plus, I learned from Aaron on the podcast that it’s actually possible to hook an iOS device to an Ethernet cable with adaptors, and it will work!

IBM MaaS360 had a pretty big set of updates this week, including, the general availability of unified endpoint management for Windows 10, support for Apple Education, Zebra device management, and more.

MobileIron announced their user conference for 2017; it will run May 9-11 in Santa Clara, and June 1-2 in Berlin.

Microsoft’s Brad Anderson noted that EMS launched three years ago on Monday, and shared a look back at the thinking behind the launch. Back in 2014, I wrote that it left a lot to be desired, as it was missing various EMM components. (In retrospect, at the time many of us were not yet giving identity management the level of attention it deserves.) However, seven months later I wrote that there was a lot to like. Fast forward to today, it’s become a force to be reckoned with, and Microsoft says it has 41,000 customers. (Here’s Brad’s progress report video.) One of the interesting ways that it will continue to affect the EMM industry this year is with the Graph API for Intune. (I’m planning to publish some more on this next week.)

Mobile threat defense (MTD) vendor Lookout had a high-profile win this week, as news came out that the US House of Representatives and associated staff will begin using Lookout’s enterprise app. Earlier this month, Lookout revealed that they have over 150 enterprise customers. These are key metrics to follow, since MTD adoption is still quite low, and most typical organizations have other more pressing security issues to deal with. However, high-value targets (like the House) are generally the first types of organizations that have been adoption MTD.

Our blog posts                                                                                      

Jo Harder, guest contributor: Citrix makes you an offer you can’t refuse: Virtualization for $12/user/month. At this price, it sounds like a “must have” offer, but there are a few catches.

Jack: Apple TV just got much better enterprise management support. Will this open new use cases? tvOS 10.2 works with DEP and has more MDM APIs, and Jamf is the first to EMM to provide support. Now, will companies start using the Apple TV for more than just connecting to displays?

Gabe: AMD, NVIDIA competition heats up as Citrix adds MxGPU support to XenDesktop Until now, NVIDIA has been king of the hill when it comes to virtualized GPUs in VDI. AMD's MxGPU is now supported in Citrix XenDesktop, and that changes things.

Jack: Samsung is trying the “Nirvana Phone” concept with Galaxy S8 “DeX”. Here are my initial thoughts. Can one device that acts as both a phone and a desktop really take off? Others have tried, but maybe Samsung pushing it on a popular Android phone will help.

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