By Nerino Petro at 4 February, 2012, 10:11 am
Working on a hosted desktop offers a number of benefits, including the ability to connect to it from a variety of devices across different platforms. Work on your virtual desktop from your Windows PC at home, check in from the coffee shop and make a change to a letter on your iPad and finally, access and open a pdf from your Android device. If your device crashes, no worries, the virtual desktop is unaffected because it is not running on your device but on a hosted machine in a server farm. However, until recently, hosted or virtual desktops have not been exactly inexpensive, but that seems to be about to change with a number of new players entering the market.
nivio is the most recent company to announce a hosted desktop offering. What may make this product a standout is not only it’s applications for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, but it’s nDrive which works to synchronize data across all of your devices (think Dropbox) but rather than transferring the entire file after changes are made, nDrive will transfer only the changed parts of the file. This is called a Delta Transfer and means that after the initial save, future saves to the same file will be much faster. Users will also have the ability, according to company information, to be able to access their desktop from any HTML5 compatible web browser, albeit with reduced features when compared to the device specific apps.
The key piece to the nivio service is their nDesktop which gives your own Windows 7 desktop environment. Stated pricing on different web sites is varied, but best information puts the basic Windows 7 Desktop at $15.00 per month with prices for children and students significantly less expensive. If you need MS Office or other applications you will rent them based on the time you use them or on a monthly basis. I do wonder how this is being done with Microsoft’s licensing requirements, but that will be between Microsoft and the nivio folks. Each user gets 10GB of free storage as well.
nDesktop and nDrive are currently Beta testing and interested folks can pre-register at the nivio website. Anticipate launch date is around February 17, 2012.
nivio varies from competitors such as OnLive Desktop which gives a user 2GB of storage free along with MS Office as well as rich media (something that nivio isn’t doing currently). At this time though, the OnDrive app is only available for the iPad, although its website says Android, Windows and Mac versions will be along shortly. Others include duncanllc, LegalWorkspace and Kube Kloud. While the last three are significantly more expensive than nivio and OnLive, they also provide the ability to place your legal specific apps in the hosted desktop.
I do not expect this trend to slow down as we move into 2012; but only time and the market place will determine if this is the wave of the future.