Citrix Receiver and the iPhone 1

Or any other mobile device around the same size for that matter.

I decided to write this post for the simple reason I cannot stand anymore tweets and more tweets about how great the Citrix Receiver 2.0 for the iPhone is. Sure Gus Pinto did an excellent job on it and from what I hear, it works well (I have not tested the latest release even though it is on my iPhone).

Now let me explain why I am fed up with the whole world thinking “this-is-the-greatest-piece-of-software-ever-developed-and-why-this-will-change-the-world”. In three words: “Form Factor Sucks”. Period.

Yes, I said it. The iPhone form factor sucks. Let me finish the phrase please. The iPhone form factor sucks AS A THIN CLIENT DEVICE. Now I am done.

The problems with the iPhone as a Citrix client are very simple to understand:

1. The lack of keyboard.For some quick browsing/reading emails etc that is no big deal. But to type for a while on that thing is a major pain in the ass. No matter what you say regarding this I will not agree. I use my iPhone all the time at home on my wireless to read/post on Twitter, read some of my emails and the usual web browsing. But when I need to post a lenghty reply or write something decent I go to my computer. Even a small Netbook (I tried a Gateway one with AMD CPU and 11″ screen and it was superb) provides a MUCH better experience.

2. Screen Size.Yep, great screen for watching porn and movies on a plane. But Jesus Christ, it sucks balls to read Excel spreadsheets, any decent Word/PDF document and so on. Yes, it is better than nothing but again, try reading a word document on it over a Citrix session for one hour. Sucks. Pinching/rotating is neat but becomes a major PITA after 20 minutes. Am I the only one that can see this?

3. Battery. Yes, the thing drains the battery like nuts if you are on Wi-Fi or 3G plus it gets warm. At least mine does.

Even if someone like RedFly comes out with a dock for the iPhone with video out and the iPhone takes a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, I still think it will suck but now for a different reason. If I have to drag with me a mouse, keyboard and dock, why not bring a netbook and will probably be smaller than all above and will give me the full blown experience? Plus the ICA Client for Win32 has way more features that the one for the iPhone in case I need to access anything over ICA.

Unless hotels start to rent something like an iPhone docking package that includes all above for $10 a day, I cannot see this idea taking off at all. I mean, being used for the masses. For sure for niche markets (i.e. insurance companies using the iPhone to take pictures and then send these directly to their Win32 frontend software running on Citrix with geotag information stamped by the iPhone GPS) will see this as a great solution and money wise, may justify the money Citrix is spending developing the bloody beast (it is way more than you imagine as Gus salary is way over $500,000 a year). But again, I cannot see this becoming the greatest/most popular ICA device ever. It will be a niche. For sure, great to have for a quick and dirty connection to the office but as a business tool to replace a laptop? No way.

Unless someone wants to join me and start a business to get the LCD/Keyboard/Mouse/Dock rented at major hotels in the US. I am all ears. 🙂 If this happens then for sure I can see myself carrying the iPhone only. If I could plug it somewhere in the hotel room and have access to my desktop using a full blown keyboard, mouse and screen, I would do it in a heartbeat. But as it is today it is just impracticle.

And Citrix, as a final rant, please try to put the same level of effort you guys put on the iPhone receiver on the fuc***g damn ICA Client for OS X. It is still bug hell. Not to mention it is WAY more useful than the freaking iPhone one.



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