Virtualization allows cloud servers to execute Windows applications remotely from any iOS, Android, Mac, Windows or Linux device, including iPads, Android tablets, laptops and desktop computers. And by renting apps by the month--only paying during months you use them--all your software and storage can be constantly up-to-date in the cloud at a fraction of the cost of owning your own PC. Or so the story goes.
"We believe that 2012 will begin the era of the cloud for ordinary Windows users," said Nivio co-founder Sachin Dev Duggal. "Whether you're on your desktop PC, laptop, Android tablet or an iOS device like the iPad, you will be synched to the same cloud-based Windows desktop."
Desktop virtualization is already being offered as cloud-based infrastructure as a service (IaaS), such as when using Norton Ghost, Citrix XenDesktop or VMware's View. In fact, the enterprise market for desktop virtualization is predicted to top $5 billion by 2016. The consumer market, on the other hand, includes all the private citizens out there running Windows on a PC but wishing they could just carry a tablet.
Nivio's virtual Windows desktop called your nDesktop offers thousands of Windows applications in its App-Store (center) which you can rent for a few dollars per month, paying only during months that you use them.
Nivio (Le Mont-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland) is aiming for that consumer market with its just-announced, cloud-based, virtual-Windows service at, of all places, this week's MacWorld/iWorld 2012. By installing the new Nivio app on an iPad, a virtual mouse can navigate a cloud-based Windows desktop. And if you decide to switch to an Android tablet, netbook, laptop or desktop PC running Linux, Windows or MacOS, you just select the appropriate app, sign in with your username and password, and your new device will be synced.
"We envision people migrating to our cloud-based Windows desktops for the convenience of using their favorite device, and because they don't want the hassle with installing and keeping a PC up-to-date, and because it is just more economical to rent Windows applications when you need them, rather than purchasing them," said Duggal. "We are offering Windows 7 desktops now, but we are already working on Windows 8 compatibility, because we think people will opt for the convenience of running it on their iOS or Android tablet."
Nivio is free for 30 days, including 10GB of storage on a personal nDrive, after which maintaining an nDesktop in the clouds costs from $5 to $15 a month (plus a small surcharge for whichever applications you might have used during any given month). The Windows desktop is synced across any three devices as part of the basic package, and alteration of a file on one device takes only about 30 seconds to sync with all your other devices. Users can also access their Windows nDesktop from an HTML5 browser, such as Google Chrome. Sharing an nDesktop is done with a custom URL.
Nivio runs on Rackspace and Wyse cloud servers located in the United States, Switzerland, India and Australia. The service is available for preregistration and will go live worldwide on Feb. 14th.