High-Tech Toys: Running Windows 7 on an iPad

Growing up there was a plaque on my basement wall that read: “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.”

This modern day tech guy loves his toys, and Apple’s iPad is the latest in a string of high-tech toys getting a lot of buzz. Everyone has seen the video of the cat playing games with the iPad, so instead of talking about how it works or how cool the screen is, I am going to focus on the integration with VMware View.

About 6 months ago I picked up the Wyse PocketCloud client for the iPhone and thought it was really cool but I couldn’t really see any business purpose for it other than putting out emergencies and even that would be tough on such a small screen. Then about a month ago I saw an update for the app that said it now had iPad support. A 10” screen could facilitate performance.

In terms of price, I can get a 10” screen on a netbook for around $300, maybe a little more if I add a solid state drive. Then I can add the VMware View client and get connectivity just about anywhere with a full keyboard without carrying around a 20-lb laptop. That would not be nearly as cool though. The iPad is priced at $499 starting with just WiFi, which I think right now is definitely a limiting factor but not one that is overwhelming. You’d normally only use it while you’re sitting on your sofa at home anyway. High price or not, I had to try it out. I posted my impressions at Arte Fuse.

The setup is extremely easy. You simply order it from the app store on the device and $14.99 later it is installed on the device. The connection to an existing View environment is almost as easy with just a few caveats. You have to set up a connection to each machine or pool you want to access. That is not at all a show stopper since you still can’t multi-task on the iPad anyway. Once you set the machine you have the option of how you want to view the desktop. This one is personal preference and if you plan to use landscape more than portrait I would change the setting as it really does make a difference when viewing it.

You get all the same features as the iPhone version with two-finger sizing and the extra mouse/all-in-one pointer that makes the touch screen even more useful. Plus if you must have Flash you can use the ThinBrowser feature and access your full browser on the virtual desktop and get Flash sites opened on the iPad. There are a few things to watch out for though. If you think you are going to use your finger to move up and down a page, think again. When you slide your finger it actually moves the whole desktop around. A lock feature would be nice so that you can use the desktop more like the base image. I think it is something you can get used to but for me it was annoying. A second thing to be aware of when using it is if you are in landscape mode and close out of it, the app seems to lock up and part of the screen goes back to portrait and some stays in landscape. If you just exit out and come back in it fixes it all so again not a big deal especially since if you are done you would most likely be exiting out anyway.

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