Amazon’s New Cloud Desktop Service, Amazon WorkSpaces, Arrives On iPad

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Amazon WorkSpaces, the company’s recently announced virtual desktops service and competitor with VMware, has now arrived on the iOS platform, or more specifically, on iPad. The new app will allow those who have access to the WorkSpaces Limited Preview currently in progress to use their iPad device as a cloud desktop of sorts, in order to handle everyday corporate computing tasks, like editing docs, accessing web apps, sending and receiving company email, and more, all from a Windows desktop interface.

The service was revealed last month at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent conference, where the company introduced a fully-managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Designed for a corporate computing environment, I.T. admins can configure cloud desktops for end users that allows them to access internal company resources from their choice of devices, including laptops, Android tablets, Kindle Fire, and iPad.

AWS, meanwhile, provisions the infrastructure and OS for customers, including setting up and managing the underlying network, VMs, storage, Active Directory integration and user authentication. It can also handle any degradation in hardware and storage automatically, without customer intervention. In addition, customers can choose to use their own images, if they prefer, as long as they’re compatible with Windows OS Server.

The Android-based version of the Amazon WorkSpaces app was previously available in Amazon’s Appstore (though not in Google Play). The iPad version, however, only launched last night to little fanfare.

Pricing for the service is competitive – in fact, when Senior Vice President Andy Jassy, Amazon WorkSpaces introduced Workspaces in November, he claimed the service is half the price of on-premise VDI solutions offered by traditional providers.

amazon-workspace-ipad

A standard package ($35/month per user) comes with one virtual CPU and 50 gigabytes of storage. A performance package ($60/month per user) has two virtual CPUs and 100 GB of storage. There’s also a Standard Plus and Performance Plus option for those who want more software already pre-installed like Microsoft Office, Trend Micro Anti-Virus, or other programs.

The service is not yet publicly available, however, but is an a Limited Preview. That means customers are being invited to sign up to test the service, but not all will be allowed in. Instead, names are added to a waitlist and Amazon will reach out when there’s an opening.

Despite Amazon’s push for Kindle Fire as an enterprise tablet, with a number of recently added features on that front as well, it’s likely that the WorkSpaces iPad app was the mobile client many were waiting for – especially given iPad’s enterprise traction: 94% of the Fortune 500 and over 85% of the Global 500 are testing or deploying iPads, Apple has said.

The WorkSpaces app for iPad is here on iTunes.