A little while ago I saw the first videos of Project AppShift at the office. My first impression: really cool but also very much needed. On day 2 of VMworld 2012 in San Francisco, Project AppShift was demo’d and the video has been posted on Youtube:
So, what is User Interface virtualization and what challenges does it solve?
Think about this: You take an iPad and you connect to a VMware View Windows desktop. Let’s assume this is your corporate desktop. Now, go to “Start” and then “Documents”, and open a document. How did that go? I always miss a button here and there, and I don’t have very large hands.
Basically, what you are doing here, is presenting a Windows desktop on a non-Windows tablet. You are using Windows, a point and click oriented system on a tablet, a gesture-oriented platform. Windows XP/7 aren’t designed to run on a tablet and my guess is that enterprise users will use Windows 8 like they use Windows XP/7: regular desktop, start button, menu’s and so on. We will have the same challenges with Windows 8 as we have today with Windows XP/7 on tablets.
With Project AppShift, key elements of the Windows and application interface should become more tablet friendly. Gesture is added to the Windows and application interface for the most common tasks: an easy way to access your documents, swipe through all your documents, switching between apps and more. This should increase the adoption of using tablets to connect to a VDI environment.
I know some people say it isn’t about Windows, it is about applications. Applications should be delivered to any device so you don’t have all these Windows issues anymore. Well, in a way that is true but although it is the post pc-era, Windows is and will be around for a long time in the enterprise, just not as the one and only workspace, not as dominant as before. Horizon Suite will help moving away but I’m still happy see cool features like AppShift are developed to solve current challenges.