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Short-Take: VMware View PCoIP Client for Android

July 15, 2011

Today VMware released a “Tech Preview” version of VMware’s View Client for Android: a PCoIP-only client suitable for LAN and WAN (via PCoIP Secure Gateway). We’ve had a quick first look this evening when the application appeared on Android Market – a free download – and it looks great. On my NotionInk Adam tablet (NVidia 1GHz dual-core) running Honeycomb 3.0.1 the display updates where just as snappy as my iPad2 running View Client for iPad. The only problem I experienced in the hour or so of working with the client is the lack of three-finger support in the Adam/Honeycomb port to spawn the pop-up keyboard.

The View PCoIP Client for Android supports the same saved desktop icon paradigm as it's iPad predecessor for quick access.

The View PCoIP Client for Android allows for desktop connections to stay active even when the app is not in the foreground - a one-up on the iPad predecessor.

Android View PCoIP Client - Task switching to other Android application

Task switching in View PCoIP Client for Android works just like any other Android application.

Android View PCoIP Client - Retrieving a View desktop from background

View PCoIP Client for Android is easily restored from the background without reconnection delays.

And yes, that last screen shot shows 1-bar on AT&T’s 3G network and it’s totally useable just like on the iPad. If you’re waiting for a rocking View client before plunking down money on that 10.1″ ASUS EEpad Transformer (now with Honeycomb 3.1) and it’s keyboard/mousepad “docking” station (complete with additional run-time doubling battery) then wait no more: Android has arrived. Remember though, this is just a “Tech Preview” and the apple needs a bit more polishing before you go running to your CIO…

SOLORI’s Note: Although the View Client for Android was “optimized” for 1280×800 format, it still had no problem with the more limited 1024×600 Pixel Qi display on my NotionInk Adam. In fact, changes in rotation on the Android seemed faster than on iPad2 and multitasking on the Honeycomb system did no seemed to be affected to a backgrounded desktop.

As another test to compatibility, I tested small-screen PCoIP goodness on my Samsung Fascinate and it rocks! Beware, there is just enough display to be useful with the pop-up keyboard on-screen, however and the scroll-back on the screen with keyboard in foreground made for interesting URL entry while trying to get to Hulu, but audio was clear and frame rates at about 3-5 fps (visual est.) but very clear. Task switching on the single-core Android Froyo device worked flawlessly too.

How did Hulu fare on Honeycomb? Unfortunately it was not up to scratch in full screen, but I found it passable in the embedded mode (Mozilla 3.6). This kind of performance issue will likely be very platform dependent on Android version, CPU, display and vendor tweaks to the Google Android kernel – especially hacked kernels like the NI Adam (tested). Unlike the Apple-controlled IOS, Android leaves a lot of performance enhancements to platform providers and most just pass-on the reference kernel without significant improvement in performance. For a “preview” release, Team Fox at VMware has delivered the goods.

VMware’s official blog post has a quick walk-through video. A User Guide and Release Notes are also available from VMware.

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