Virtualisation specialist Citrix has announced versions of Citrix Receiver that are compatible with Chromebooks and tablets such as the webOS-based HP TouchPad and RIM's PlayBook.
On Wednesday, at the Citrix Synergy event in San Francisco, the company also announced refreshed versions of Receiver for Windows, Linux, Macintosh, iOS tablets and smartphones, Android tablets and smartphones, and RIM's BlackBerry smartphones.
Citrix Receiver is a software client that enables businesses to deliver corporate apps, data and desktops to employee- and company-owned devices. Following the updates and new version releases, the software now supports more than 1,000 different Mac and PC models, 149 smartphones, 37 tablets and 10 different classes of thin clients. The company also demonstrated Receiver for Web at the event.
"With more than one billion devices supported today, Citrix further extends its leadership and ongoing commitment to enable the largest number of devices, including Receivers for upcoming new devices like the HP TouchPad, BlackBerry Playbook and Google Chromebook," Citrix said in a statement.
Receiver allows access to any software-as-a-service (SaaS), web or Windows app from a centralised location. Receiver also provides a 'Follow-me-Apps' capability, meaning users' apps on one device will automatically show up on other devices too.
The company showcased a related 'Follow-me-Data' feature that makes data accessible from any device. It will also provide remote-wipe capabilities to ensure data security in case a device is lost or stolen, or an employee leaves the company.
Each platform-specific version of the Receiver is offered for free, but ties in with Citrix's back-end products such as XenDesktop, XenApp and NetScaler Cloud Gateway. Combining Receiver with NetScaler provides single sign-on capabilities across all apps from any device, Citrix said.
"They give Citrix Receiver away for free... it's freely downloadable across all these platforms with the reason being that these Receivers need to connect into something and that something is Citrix products in the back-end. That's the motive — they want to sell more server and more back-end, and Receiver helps this in a very real way," Mark Margevicius, end-user computing and desktop virtualisation specialist at Gartner, told ZDNet UK on Friday.
Wouldn't it be cool to have access to your PC or Google apps through your TV? This is the kind of thinking that is going on.– Mark Margevicius, Gartner
In terms of competition, Citrix has a huge head-start on its rivals in this area, who are taking a different, non platform-agnostic route, Margevicius added.
"Most vendors are positioning specific solutions for the platforms, whether it's Apple or BlackBerry or Android; they're far more focused on establishing the value of their platform versus being agnostic to other platforms, so they're not going to do much with it," Margevicius said. "The only real credible alternative right now is VMware... but by comparison they're not anywhere near the number of systems, platforms and environments as Citrix [which] has at least a two-year head-start at approaching this problem in they way they do. Microsoft isn't going to do anything here."
Margevicius also said that, in the future, Citrix will trade on the name Receiver as a marketing term, rather than to refer to the specific technology.
"As it continues to mature and grow and gain acceptance, Receiver ultimately becomes a brand for within Citrix. Think 'Intel Inside'," he said. "Think about Receiver for your television; wouldn't it be cool to have access to your PC or Google apps through your TV? This is the kind of thinking that is going on."
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