At Synergy in San Francisco, Citrix announced Technology Previews for Receiver for Windows and for Linux  in conjuction with the new XenApp and XenDesktop Tech Previews (all are available at www.citrix.com/techpreview).  These new Receivers provide some phenomenal new HDX features that minimize the delta between a native and virtualized desktop experience.

The new Receiver for Windows is designed as successor to the Online Plug-in … in all deployments … with a great unified user experience and a great new framework for further enhancement. It contains all of the Online plug-in functions and several new capabilities.

Here are the details:

When we introduced Receiver for Windows two years ago, it performed two fundamentally different  functions:  First, when  you installed Citrix Receiver with the various Citrix plug-ins, you ended up with a  unified experience: one icon in the systray instead of several, one set of notifications, one set of preferences, one way to authenticate, and one way to get self-service access to Windows, Web, and Saas applications. Second when you used Receiver in conjunction with a Merchandising Server,  Receiver simplified deployment of plug-ins and provided a way to  keep them and their configurations up-to-date.  So the two functons were unified user experience and automatic updating!

The new Receiver for Windows combines the above functions in a new way! The new Receiver for Windows now bundles  the “unified user experience” together with the normally always in use Online plug-in so now no matter how your users obtain Citrix client software…or how many plug-ins are configured…the users benefits from a unified experience.  Since in many cases “updating” was not always needed, we separated the “Updating” function  into a new and distinct  “Citrix Receiver Updater” that can be optionally used where needed. Same functions but packaged differently for everyone’s benefit.

The result is a unified user experience no matter whether you install Citrix Receiver from Web Interface, use ESD tools, download from Citrix.com., or use the “Receiver Updater” and Merchandising Server …and no matter if you use just Citrix Receiver or use it together with the Self-service, Secure access, Single sign-on, XenVault, or any other Receiver plug-in. You end up with one icon in the sys tray, one set of notifications, and one set of preferences, one way to authenticate, and one way to get self-service access to  applications and desktop.

There are still however two different installers. The primary CitrixReceiver.exe directly supersedes the web version of Online Plug-in.  It will be the workhouse for  enabling web access to XenApp or XenDesktop.  It is simple to install without admin rights. The CitrixReceiverEnterprise.exe is only needed if you  require Pass Thru authentication to PNAgent resources.  It would normally be installed using GPOs or ESD tools.

Also included amongst the Tech Preview is a new Single sign-on plug-in with a greatly improved and unified experience.  A big benefit is one step password entry and another is no more Systray clutter! All menus and interactions are fully integrated into the Receiver user experience.

A great companion is the just-released Self-service plug-in 2.1 which lets users  search, subscribe, launch apps either now  from XenApp Services (PNAgent) … or Delivery Services. This gives you a great way to provide your  Windows users a self-service experience before  transitioning to Delivery Services.  Delivery Services adds single authentication to multiple farms, access to SaaS applications via Cloud Gateway, delivery of Citrix “GoTo” Products, App Request  when you need those services..

This is just the beginning. Receiver for Windows will be embedding more and more functionality likeself-service, remote access, one step configuration, and other great new features in very short order to add user flexibility and value. We are also unifying the user’s experience, visually and functionally, across all Receivers to make it even easier to use any device, any time, from anywhere. Stay tunned for future blogs.

The  bottom line is that you have  several reasons to upgrade from just using the online plug-in to using Citrix Receiver 3.0 as soon as it’s released:

•         Great new HDX features – audio, video, app launch, desktop viewer, Aero Themes, fast application launch,  and more.

•         Unified user experience –no matter how the computer is configured

•         Smoother single sign-on

•         Simpler self service

Give the Tech Preview a try and share your experience.