HP confirmed earlier this week that it would continue to sell its Elite x3 Windows 10 Mobile handset through 2019, but the business-focused device that was being marketed as a 3-in-1 device is now much less versatile than before. Indeed, HP quietly discontinued HP Workspace, its software virtualization platform that allowed Elite x3 users to run select Win32 apps in Continuum mode.
The change was noticed yesterday by The Register (via All About Windows Phone), and HP explained in a statement that HP Workspace can be replaced by other solutions from VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft (it’s not clear if HP refers to basic Continuum mode, Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app or something else entirely). You can read the full statement below.
Thank you for your interest in HP Workspace! As of July 31, 2017, HP has discontinued the HP Workspace product. When the HP Elite x3 was introduced, there were limited options to deliver Windows PC applications to Windows 10 mobile devices. So, we created HP Workspace to enable HP Elite x3 users' access to Windows "desktop" applications. Since then, leading providers such as VMWare®, Microsoft and Citrix® have released or improved their solutions for this operating system. Please visit their respective websites for more information on their solutions.
For those unfamiliar with HP Workspace, it had quite a limited appeal since it was available as a subscription service. The basic tier was $49 per month per user, with a virtualized environment limited to 4GB of RAM, 10 different Win32 apps and 40 hours of monthly usage. The service also needed a good Internet connection to work reliably, which also meant that it was useless while offline.
If Continuum never became Windows 10 Mobile’s killer feature, HP Workspace could be one of the reasons to purchase an Elite x3. Now that it’s gone, it’s uncertain what other features can make the premium handset still stand out in the shrinking Windows Phone market. There is still the HP Lap Dock, which can transform the Elite X3 into a lightweight laptop, but the lack of quality apps that support Continuum makes it not as good as a real Windows laptop.
Do you think business users still have a reason to be interested in the HP Elite x3, even without HP Workspace? More importantly, do you still think that app virtualization is a solution for Microsoft's Windows Store problems? Let us know below.