Citrix Podio Brings Workplace App to Android Devices

Less than a month after offering an app for Apple’s iPad, Citrix’s Podio business offers a similar app for Android mobile devices.

Citrix Systems officials continue to aggressively expand the reach of the company’s Podio online work platform, this time by offering the technology as an Android app in the Google Play app store.

Through the app, announced Sept. 27, users via their Android smartphones and tablets can access the myriad collaborative workspace features in Podio’s portfolio, ranging from project management capabilities to creating activity streams to accessing company contact directories. The announcement comes three weeks after Citrix launched a similar app for the Apple iPad. Podio apps also are accessible on Apple’s iPhones.

The move is a significant one for workers using Android mobile devices, according to Kasper Hultin, one of the co-founders of Podio and now an executive with Citrix.

“Now I can really get all my work done, use all these apps, [and] get all this functionality on the Android phone,” Hultin told eWEEK.

Citrix, best known for its desktop virtualization capabilities, bought Podio in April as part of a larger push into the cloud computing space. With Podio’s technology, businesses can create a social workplace environment, where users can do everything from providing real-time status updates, giving feedback, and linking to, sharing and managing tasks. With the mobile apps for the Apple and Android stores, users can take those capabilities away from the desktop and use them on their tablets or smartphones, a key concern in an environment where more workers are mobile and—as part of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend—are using these mobile devices for work.

Such trends were highlighted in a survey by Citrix released Sept. 25, which showed a shrinking work space and a greater number of devices being used by workers. According to the study, the workplace over the next several years will evolve to the point where there will be seven desks for every 10 office workers, with each person accessing their company’s IT network from an average of six different devices.

The fewer workspaces are part of the growing mobility trend, Citrix officials said. Currently, about 24 percent of businesses worldwide have adopted mobile work styles, they said. By mid-2014, that number will be up to 83 percent.

That’s leading to new ways of working and collaborating, and is giving rise to a growing number of companies like Podio and Asana—as well as efforts by established players like Cisco Systems and Microsoft—to create products that support these trends. Right now, many businesses are still clinging to inflexible and slow tools such as email and spreadsheets, according to Podio’s Hultin.

However, such drivers as a more mobile workforce, more powerful mobile computing devices, the influx of young people in the workforce and the rise of social networking sites like Facebook are fueling the demand for tools like those offered by Citrix Podio and Asana, he said.

“A lot of the social tools have advanced over tools used in the workplace,” Hultin said, noting the use of Facebook and Google+ among workers. Those people are familiar and comfortable in the social networking realm. Now the effort is leveraging those social tools in the work environment.

“Social just has to be a part of what we do,” he said. “It’s really about getting work done.”

With the Podio workspaces and apps now available on their mobile devices, workers can collaborate and get work done anywhere and from any device. For example, Podio’s Simple Project Management app enables users to keep track of projects, edit content and add comments for everyone else to see. Through the apps, they also can assign tasks, access company directories and keep everyone updated via shared activity streams.

The Podio apps can be found in the Podio App Market, and customized via the Web-based Podio App Builder. There currently are 700 free apps in the Podio App Market, all of which are now accessible via Podio’s Android app. Hultin said Citrix Podio does not yet support Microsoft’s Windows platform, though he added that “as soon as it makes sense to build for other platforms, we will do it.”

More than 40,000 organizations worldwide use Podio’s collaborative work platform, according to Citrix officials. One is Norrebro Bryghus, a Danish micro-brewery that is using Podio’s Android app to manage its field sales team. Here is a video showing how Norrebro Bryghus is leveraging the technology.