I hope you had a wonderful holidays and a happy new year!  (For those of you die hard folks who may be reading this post before the New Year, then I hope you HAVE a wonderful celebration!)

While you were out and hopefully not working our engineering team was hard at work releasing important updates to a number of our Citrix Receiver distributions.  A couple of weeks ago we kicked off the season with an update to Receiver for Android (which I covered in a separate blog post).  The last week of December has seen the release of Receiver for Windows 3.1 as well as the full version 1.0 releases of Receiver for Chromebook and Receiver for PlayBook.  In the next few weeks we’ll also be updating Receiver for iOS as well!

These are exciting times.  This week also saw the release of Citrix CloudGateway 1.0! CloudGateway comes in two flavors — a free Express version that includes Storefront Services and an Enterprise version that incorporates an Application Controller for integration of SaaS and web app management delivered seamlessly via Citrix Receiver.  (You can get more information here.) This is significant in that Storefront Services provides a new scalable, enterprise ready set of Receiver infrastructure that makes it easy and seamless to provide an Enterprise applications store to end users that incorporates heterogeneous access from any device and a “follow me” capability that makes it even easier for end users to install, configure and personalize Receiver wherever they are and on whatever device they’re using.  Ultimately CloudGateway infrastructure will provide capabilities that will once and for all tip in favor of Receiver over Web Interface for new and existing customers.

The updates to Receiver for Windows, Android, Chromebook and upcoming iOS all support this new CloudGateway infrastructure to seamlessly deliver Web and SaaS applications in the same manner as XenDesktop users have been accessing their enterprise Windows applications.  The integration of every enterprise application managed, provisioned, and accessed in the same seamless manner by every user from any device is very powerful and, we believe, very compelling in this increasingly complex “app” world.  Soon we will add files and data along with mobile applications to the CloudGateway solution further extending the power of Receiver on the end point devices.

The updates to Citrix Receiver extend beyond just supporting CloudGateway as well.  We have improved, in some cases dramatically, overall performance — just wait until you see the forthcoming Receiver for iOS 5.5 client!  In addition we have spent quite a bit of time fine tuning the end user experience.  As I’ve already blogged about, we released the XenApp 6.5 Mobile Optimization SDK to provide customers the tools to optimize virtualized Windows applications to look and behave more like native mobile applications when accessed from Smartphones or touch-enabled tablets.  We’ve also exposed APIs to allow Windows applications to leverage unique native device capabilities such as cameras, GPS and accelerometers for example.  (You can get more information on this new SDK from here.)

Something else you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the coming months is support for a new tablet optimized Windows desktop.  We’ve heard from many customers that a Windows desktop — delivered via VDI or shared hosted — doesn’t really work all that well for end users on an iPad or Android-powered tablet.  The Windows UI was designed and optimized for a big monitor and cursor controlled by a mouse after all.  So we’re supporting a UI on top of a traditional Windows UI that provides a cleaner interface with bigger buttons (for bigger fingers) and easier to get to “Start” menu.  I just shot some video on this new Tablet Optimized UI for YouTube that we will post shortly — and I’ll link to from here as soon as it does get posted — so you can see for yourself how dramatically better a full Windows user experience will work from a tablet.

Thank you for your interest and stay tuned for what we believe to be a revolutionary year for desktop and application virtualization in 2012!