The Motorola ATRIX equipped with Citrix Receiver is the first smartphone to live up to the promise of the NirvanaPhone and it’s a reality now! As a killer consumer smartphone, the Atrix has awesome specs: Nvidia 1 Ghz Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 1G RAM, 4 inch screen, Android 2.2, HDMI out, etc. This device tops any specs available on today’s smartphones; however, the best new feature is called webtop, because it transforms the high-end smartphone into a NirvanaPhone when docked. Instantly Webtop is launched and displays the video output at resolutions up to 1280×1024 on a standard PC display or TV. There is also a optional laptop dock that converts the smartphone into a real laptop alternative. Running inside the Webtop environment is a full function Firefox browser AND Citrix Receiver! The Firefox browser provides native web access including Flash and HTML5 as well as a window into the local Android apps including the phone and text functions. You can even use the full-size keyboard for texting.
The real magic happens when you launch Citrix Receiver. Go to your company logon page and sign in (two-factor security like RSA is fully functional) and you’re presented with your Web Interface list of Windows work applications from XenApp, or a full Windows 7 Virtual Desktop provided by XenDesktop. The apps run just as if it were a local PC, and often faster. If someone calls your presented with the option to answer or ignore and you can speak though the speakerphone or Bluetooth headset while working in your Citrix session.
We have been talking about this NirvanaPhone vision for years, the basic spec is to provide high resolution video-out, full function keyboard and mouse/trackpad, and access to a virtual desktop. This is the dream of millions of laptop luggers who may need to work from anywhere but would love to leave the laptop behind. It always seemed possible, but not quite practical or complete with previous smartphones. I can tell you that I have been using this setup for months and it really works, it’s not just demoware. I’ve used it at work with the dock, at home with various TVs and displays, in hotel rooms with the LCD TV, in guest cubicles with PC monitors, and with meeting room projectors. There are a few remaining limitations, but nothing to keep this setup from making any road warrior or knowledge worker more mobile and productive immediately. Most companies provide cubicles/offices for their employees, contractors, and guests, and many come equipped with a PC display – it would be great if they all did to speed adoption. Plus, although a popup virtual keyboard is available in webtop trackpad mode, adding a dock & a USB or Bluetooth keyboard would satisfy the desire for a physical keyboard. In the past, Bluetooth keyboards have been expensive, but the Microsoft keyboard shown is only $43, so providing a generic solution is not prohibitive. Finding TVs with HDMI is easy, but legacy VGA-only connectors for PC displays and projectors is still prevalent, so expect to need an HDMI to VGA adapter for the cable bag. The Atrix uses industry standard micro USB and mini HDMI, so the cables are readily available and cheap vs. proprietary alternatives. Of course, now there is also another option to bring along the laptop dock and use it like a laptop.
For the Citrix sessions, the performance is excellent. Audio is currently not supported and not all of the HDX features are available, however, it’s easy to multitask and minimize the Citrix session and run YouTube and audio with the native Firefox browser, or even take phone calls. In “windowed” mode (vs. full screen) the webtop environment can display Citrix hosted apps alongside native Firefox windows, plus an Android window making a phone call at the same time.
This really is a NirvanaPhone… the future has arrived!
Full Demo with the HD Docking Station (3 min)
Demo with Trackpad feature and Bluetooth Keyboard (2 min)
Short Demo (55 sec)
Stay tuned for more demos…