Six months after its debut appearance at VMworld last September, VMware has finally released its long anticipated VMware View client for the iPad, and it looks as though it was worth the wait.
Initial testing showed that the client appears responsive when tested in a LAN environment, almost on a par with a PC. VMware has delivered we well thought out, almost intuitive user interface. All the more impressive given VMware’s lack of experience in this realm. The client provides good multi-touch gesture support. Tapping the screen with a single finger generates a left click, tapping with two fingers generates a right click, tapping with three fingers displays a soft keyboard, and so on. Clearly learning from early criticism of Wyse PocketCloud, VMware has managed to provide a full Windows keyboard with the 1.0 release. VMware has also done a little outside the box thinking by overlaying a touchpad on top of a full screen Windows desktop to provide an iPad user experience that is as close as possible to the closest possible experience to working with Windows on a laptop.
it musty be pointed out though that the View client is iPad only. While there is no question that the iPad is the preferred tablet device today with over 90% of market share, the recent rash of announcements of Android-based tablets may leave VMware playing catch-up again if enterprises move to adopt them in quantity. VMware has already lost deals because of its failure to deliver an iPad client sooner, it may suffer this fate again with Android if it does not extend support to Android in the near term. Even with Apple, VMware does not provide ubiquitous support, VMware views the tablet form factor as being better suited to delivering desktops than a smaller smart phone screen size, and has no intention of delivering a client for the iPhone or any other smartphone at the moment.
As expected, the View client is free of charge , and available from Apple’s App Store here. There is some small consolation for Wyse that has until now been the only source of a client for iOS, in that it will still be able to sell its own View client for Android and the iPhone without fear of competition from VMware for the time being.
One interesting point of trivia, the VMware View iPad client, is labeled as being “by SpringSource” not VMware. I am waiting for confirmation as to why that should be so.