Lost in the shuffle of a number of strategically important announcements today were the numerous updates and enhancements to Citrix Receiver. Our little client that could just got bigger, stronger, faster and even more capable!

One of the first and most noticeable changes in Citrix Receiver is the new workspace. We call this internally the Green Screen but you should consider this your new workspace. This is where your applications, documents and desktops will appear. And, like some popular mobile devices, the workspace is entirely configurable by end users to prioritize, highlight and rearrange all of their apps in whatever order they choose.

The second thing most end users will notice is multi-tasking. Yes, we have added the capability to access multiple applications at the same time and switch easily between applications with full cut and paste. Multi-tasking may have been one of the most requested capabilities so we prioritized it and will be rolling it out in new updates through this quarter and into the first half of next year.

Thirdly, and probably a bit more invisible to end users is a series of native optimizations. Now, while these modifications may be subtle in many cases, they represent the true differentiation for Citrix Receiver. Receiver is built as a native client for the platform they’re running on. If you’re running Receiver for Mac you’ll notice that it behaves like a Macintosh application. If you’re running Receiver for PlayBook you’ll notice that it leverages the QNX operating system and behaves like other native PlayBook apps. If you’re running Receiver for iOS you’ll notice that you can leverage all the native touch commands and they behave, as you’d expect them to, on an iPad. When you touch a data entry box in an app the keyboard will automatically pop up and the screen will advance so as not to be covered up by the keyboard. When you rotate the screen the applications in Receiver will naturally and smoothly rotate. If the local device can run local multimedia codex then flash or Windows media will run locally providing a smoother and faster experience. If the device can’t support the local codex then it will run remotely. There is so much going on in Receiver that provides the optimal end user experience and that is, by the way, different on every device. (This is important, as HTML5-based end user experience, while good for ubiquitous platform support, will never be able to provide the same kind of experience as a local app can.)

Lastly and a bit obliquely we introduced the new XenApp 6.5 Mobile Apps SDK. This new SDK and its related implementations – often referred to as Golden Gate and Alcatraz, among others – provide true platform-to-platform Windows application optimizations. This SDK is what will make Citrix Receiver truly shine as a native device secure access portal application. The SDK opens up device specific APIs and allows developers to create unique capabilities in their XenApp delivered Windows apps specific to the device or platform their delivering to. This new SDK allows developers to take advantage of local resources specific to an iPad or Android device, laptops or smartphones. Ever thought it would be cool to be able to leverage a smartphone GPS to provide location based services in Excel? This SDK will allow developers to do that. How about leverage a local iPad webcam to provide video support to a PowerPoint presentation? This SDK will allow developers to do that. You should check out this blog from Martin Duursma for more information on the XA 6.5 Mobile Apps SDK!

The best part about all of these new Citrix Receiver enhancements? You’ll see all of these new features and capabilities roll out cohesively across all Citrix Receiver clients by mid-next year. We’ll start with Receiver for Windows, Receiver for iOS and Receiver for Android this year followed quickly with updates to Receiver for Mac, Receiver for Linux, Receiver for PlayBook, and others…

Oh, one last thing that we also announced today: Receiver for Web, our new HTML5-based Receiver client will also be available in Technology Preview this week followed by a formal launch in December. While HTML-based solutions will never deliver the very best end user experience (as compared to native client implementations) we also know that there are devices and use cases – such as guest access or hotel kiosks – we aren’t able to support with native implementations. So, as part of the new CloudGateway Express and Enterprise solutions, we will be shipping the infrastructure for Receiver for Web for free!

Stay tuned for more information and be sure to bookmark http://www.citrixreceiver.com for the latest downloads, information and access to the upcoming Technology Previews!

PS: For those of you using Receiver for iPhone, please note that we updated Citrix Receiver to a universal binary for all iOS products. You will need to delete Receiver for iPhone from your device and search for Citrix Receiver in the iTunes app store for the new distribution. Since it has a new name your iPhone won’t automatically update your older Receiver client!