I’ve been using the Sprint HTC Touch Pro for a few months now, and I feel that it is a very compelling mobile device for use with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, maybe even for few of the folks I’ve been hearing from that are looking to move away from the iPhone.  So what I’ve done in this blog is to video what I feel are some of the compelling use cases for mobile devices with Citrix and let the Sprint HTC Touch Pro take top billing in this post.  I’m sure you can find a few posts about Citrix and the iPhone if you try, and we’ll have it out “Sooner than later”!

HTC Touch Pro w/Web Interface

HTC Touch Flo interface does a good job of bringing most of the tasks I want on my mobile device right to my finger tips.  One of the areas that HTC’s Touch Flo interface comes into play with Citrix is when connected to Web Interface via the Opera browser.  The Opera browser allows the user to quickly zoom in and out on the Web interface, and move the viewable portion of the page using your finger to quickly find the application you want to launch (no stylus required).  The built in accelerometer will also automatically change the view from portrait to landscape when you tilt the Touch Pro.  If the keyboard is pulled out, the orientation will also switch to landscape mode.  The below video shows the new Web Interface, which has a mobile device mode built in, easily navigated with HTC’s Touch Flo integration into Opera.

Mobile Access to Corporate Documents

Being able to quickly and securely access documents on corporate file shares from your mobile device can be a real advantage.  Imaging a lawyer or sales person not having to boot up their laptop to get quick access to a document when they simply want to look up some data in a document or quickly review a file.  Using their mobile device instead they can just launch File Explorer via XenApp from their mobile phone to gain secure access to that any file they have access to in the data center, regardless of its size or type.  They can find the data they were looking for and be done quicker than it takes to boot most laptops.  The HTC Touch Pro’s full VGA resolution really shines here, you are able to view a lot more data on its VGA screen than most devices with lesser resolution.  The screen is small (2.7″), but its clarity helps to overcome its size. 

NOTE: in order to make the following videos more viewable, the Touch Pro was controlled from my PC using Soti’s Pocket Controller Pro so my fingers weren’t in the way!  Like the keyboard is when typing on an iPhone

Mobile Access to ERP, CRM and Other Database Applications

Being able to access to ERP, CRM and other corporate database data while mobile is another key use case.  While I wouldn’t recommend that users do a ton of data entry into these systems from any mobile device, there are a lot of cases where a user in the field needs quick access to customer information, sales and program data, payment or purchase approvals, and inventory information for example.  The general use case when using mobile devices is about quick consumption of data, and they can securely gain access to such data from their mobile device using XenApp.

The below video shows the HTC Touch Pro accessing the Citrix corporate SAP system to quickly approve an event, and look up some travel expense report data.

Mobile Access to Technical Documents

Citrix has optimized its ICA protocol for over a decade to deliver some of the most demanding types of data to remote users.  Imagine the technical field worker that needs to look up the proper connectivity of electrical wiring on an expensive piece of equipment.  They could try and carry every possible paper manual in their truck, OR all of the technical drawings could be kept online in the data center for the worker to access via their mobile device, and again, having a device with a full VGA resolution like the HTC Touch Pro makes a big difference.

The below video shows the HTC Touch Pro accessing a 3D AutoDesk drawing, allowing the worker to rotate the drawing on the Touch Pro and zoom in and get whatever level of detail they require to get the job done.

So you wanna full desktop to?

Are you standardizing your desktop deployments on XenDesktop?  Not a problem for mobile users.  The HTC Touch Pro’s full VGA screen is one of the few devices I’ve seen that can easily fit a full desktop on the screen without requiring panning and scaling. 

The below video shows use of the Touch Pro with XenDesktop.  It also shows the ability of the solution to detect a change from landscape to portrait mode and have the application or desktop being run on XenApp/XenDesktop automatically adapt to this change. 

So is a 2.7″ screen a bit small to run a full desktop on, probably.  But I find the Touch Pro very usable for quick access to applications and data, even with XenDesktop. I can only hope for HTC to come out with an HTC HD Pro version with an external keyboard which would really make this solution pop.  Give it full SVGA output via a VGA connector (Sprint HTC Touch Pro has VGA output today) and you may just have the first real Nirvana Device along with my Celio Redfly to complete the package.

I know there are a lot of other differences between the Touch Pro and the iPhone, iPhone pinch .vs. Touch Flo swirl, Opera browser .vs. Safari, iPhone has a cool Star Wars light saber application and Touch Pro does not   Overall, the Touch Pro has been an excellent device, very stable, phone works great, Touch Flo interface makes it very easy to get to the most common features I use on a phone, and it works with XenApp today!   So what’s the “right” business device for you and your employees, that’s for you to decide.  But hopefully this post helps you look at some of the use cases that can add value to your mobile workforce, and another great device for you to consider.

Sprint HTC Touch Pro Keyboard TIP!!!!! 

I did initially have an issue with the external keyboard with XenApp applications and have seen a number of posts on the web about this.  I quickly found a few settings in the ICA Client that quickly resolved this issue.  To make these changes, open the “ICA Client” from the Programs folder and navigate to the “Edit Preferences” page:

“Edit Global Settings” -> “Edit Preferences” then make the changes highlighted below:


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