Desktop virtualization vendor Wyse Technology is making its PocketCloud software available to users of Apple’s iPad.
Wyse introduced PocketCloud in August 2009 as a way to enable users of Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch to access their work environments on their PCs and virtual desktops from their iPhone or iPod Touch. It also lets IT administrators gain access to end-user machines through their Apple devices.
Now Wyse is bringing it to the Apple iPad, the much-anticipated tablet that goes on sale April 3.
“The iPad is being positioned for the consumer market,” Wyse CEO Tarkan Maner said in an interview April 2 in Boston. “We’re taking it to the enterprise market.”
Wyse’s PocketCloud App for iPad is among a growing number of business applications that are being put into the iPad App Store. It’s also part of Wyse’s larger push to position itself as a software company in the client virtualization and cloud computing space, breaking away from its legacy as a thin-client device maker.
The company still makes thin-client hardware, but it’s the software IP that is the key differentiator for the company in what is rapidly becoming a highly competitive desktop virtualization space that not only includes such heavyweights as Microsoft, Citrix and VMware, but also a host of smaller vendors and startups.
“Our story was a hardware story for many, many years,” Maner said. “For the last five or six years, we’ve been focusing on software. The bottom line is that the differentiator is software. I do not have any hardware engineers in my company.”
Along with being added to the iPad App Store, PocketCloud also has more than 20 new and improved features, including support for VMware’s View 4 virtual desktop product, Wyse’s new Touch Pointer-a pointer on the screen that lets you navigate, point, click and double-click on items on the screen, no matter how small-and more audio features.
Wyse rewrote PocketCloud to run natively on the iPad’s larger high-resolution screen, and to make it easier for iPad users to modify their RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) and VMware View connections.
Other features include a custom keyboard with function and shortcut keys, an enhanced multitouch interface, a newly designed mouse touch pointer, and a redesigned look and feel of the computer’s list.
Maner said PocketCloud also will help alleviate enterprise concerns regarding Apple’s decision not to use Flash technology. Though the technology is widely used, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has called it a CPU hog and buggy. However, iPad users through the Wyse app will be able to access Websites that use Flash, Maner said.
The PocketCloud App for iPad will be available for $29.99. In addition, existing PocketCloud users who buy an iPad will have access across the iPod Touch and iPhone at no additional cost.
It supports a host of environments, including Microsoft Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate, Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Business, and Remote Desktop Services and Terminal Services in Windows Server products.
The PocketCloud app dovetails with what Wyse officials have been saying for the past few months: that the iPad makes a perfect thin client for virtualized desktop environments.
Wyse has sold more than 10,000 PocketCloud licenses for the iPhone since September, an indication of businesspeople’s desire to use their Apple products as a corporate tool, Maner said. He expects to see that same trend with the iPad.
Maner also said Wyse will continue to remake itself into a software company that offers businesses innovative virtualized desktop offerings.
And businesses are beginning to get the message, he said. Along with customers already announced, Maner said he is in discussions with a number of large enterprises that are looking to switch out tens of thousands of traditional desktops for thin clients and virtualized desktops.
The draw for them, Maner said, are benefits ranging from easier manageability, greater security, reduced costs and improved worker mobility. For example, he estimated that it costs businesses $300 to $450 a month for each user’s PC, from buying and operating them to updating and powering them to software licensing.
In contrast, a thin client costs bout $100 to $200 per month, and has an expected lifespan of six to eight years, compared with three years for traditional PCs.
Wyse officials will continue its software push over the next couple of months when they release new offerings currently under development. The first will be “Project Borg,” which Maner called Wyse’s PC extender. The Wyse firmware will enable users to use any device-from PCs to thin clients to smartphones-to share the same client software and communicate with the back-end server. The firmware will use Wyse’s TCX protocol.
Maner said Project Borg, which will be released in mid-April, will enable businesses to continue to get value from their PC investments by essentially turning their PCs into thin clients in a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) environment.
In mid-May, at their Synergy 2010 conference in San Francisco, Wyse officials will unveil “Project Badger,” which will be an update of their ThinOS operating system, Maner said.
According to the CEO, Badger will have a small footprint, less than 3MB, and will challenge the various “zero client” virtualization vendors like Pano Logic. Users will be able to boot the devices in 3 seconds
According to reports, it also will have all the Wyse TCX and VDA components integrated, and full HDX support.
Badger will be the next-generation zero-client computing platform.
“There’s nothing to manage,” he said.