If you thought Apple's iPad was just for watching movies, VMware is out to change that perception. The virtualization and cloud -infrastructure company has announced a free VMware View Client for iPad.
Coupled with VMware View, the client allows iPad users to access virtual Windows desktops, applications and data remotely. Christopher Young, vice president and general manager for end-user computing at VMware, said the iPad "presents a new opportunity for enterprise IT organizations" by allowing access to apps from anywhere. The combination, he said, matches a "complete, secure virtual desktop they trust" with the iPad's interface.
VMware cited the use of the iPad client by one of their customers, Children's Hospital Central California. The hospital currently uses VMware View to provide "follow-me desktops" that move from room to room as the hospital staff does, and this access will now be available through iPads.
The hospital said this solution could improve patient care, as well as "dramatically reduce costs and simplify device management."
The new View Client for iPad offers Windows-based virtual desktops via the PC -over-IP (PCoIP) display protocol, which VMware said is "highly responsive." VMware View Security Support for PC enables secure remote connection and authentication, using a Wi-Fi or 3G network. Reconnection is facilitated by the ability to select recently connected desktops, displayed in a list.
The iPad's multi-touch display is utilized through support for custom gestures in the client. An on-screen trackpad also permits a more traditional navigation. The client supports iOS 4.2 and 4.3, Keyboard Dock or Bluetooth keyboards, and VGA connections for display on an external projector or monitor.
IT Control, User Freedom
On the VMware blog, Chief Technology Officer Steve Herrod wrote that the iPad client is part of VMware's effort to address two big demands faced by support organizations.
One, he said, is "IT control and the need to make Windows more secure and manageable." He noted that IT departments need to support an increasing number of mobile workers while addressing the high costs for desktop support, the risk of increased security breaches, and users' need to access large amounts of data. Herrod said this is especially true in regulated or data-sensitive industries, such as healthcare, government and financial services.
The other big demand, Herrod wrote, is "user freedom and the arrival of great new computing devices." He said smartphones and tablets have "transformed" how users expect to interact, have brought "simplicity and productivity" to homes, and are requiring enterprises to take advantage of these improvements.
Given these demands, he said, VMware's focus for end-user strategy is "providing IT control while enabling user freedom." He added that the iPad client "is just the beginning of our mobile-device efforts," which included a preview at the Mobile World Congress of its Mobile Virtual Platform hypervisor.