Aug 30 2010
We all know Apple has become a mainstay in the computing world. Their storied history includes being one of the pioneers of the personal computer as we know it. Many old time computer guys remember having Apple IIe’s or Apple II+’s as a child. Some of us still download emulators to play abandonware games for them. It makes for nostalgic times.
Fast forwarding many years brings us to the iPhone craze, which has taken the mobile world by storm. People lined up in droves to get the precious device. And what’s the first thing you think of when you think of an iPhone? Apps. Or rather, “There’s an App for that.” These applications can be found on the iPhone apps page and can help with anything from accessing your Facebook account to finding cooking recipes. There’s even an app to turn your iPhone into a flashlight. The number of options is astounding.
But there are some limitations to the iPhone as well. For instance it doesn’t come with a full word processing tool. Or you can’t readily create a PowerPoint presentation. Then there’s the whole issue about the iPhone and iPad not supporting flash. At times iPhone users are faced with the reality that it just isn’t a laptop. Sometimes you want an iPad Office Suite and the functionality that comes with having a computer. Sometimes you just want and iPhone & iPad flash player. As it turns out, there’s an app for that, too.
AlwaysOnPC is an application that allows you to remotely access a computer that has a full set of software installed. It has everything from an Office Suite, Photo editing, to FireFox with Flash installed. Their virtual machines include over 40 software applications and have all the tools you would typically install on your personal computer or laptop. It gives you the convenience of having a mobile office suite with everything else you need as well.
The biggest issue with using multiple computers is after a while all your files end up in multiple locations. AlwaysOnPC also has DropBox installed, which is a tool for sharing files across multiple computers. DropBox can be installed on many machines and devices, and all the files you place in the box can be accessed from all the other locations. AlwaysOnPC also has a simple upload/download feature allowing you to move files individually from your computer to your AlwaysOnPC app.
AlwaysOnPC isn’t just available for the iPhone. It can also be installed on the iPod Touch, iPad and Droid, as well as the PC or Mac. The most typical workflow will be to first set it up on your local computer and test it out a bit. Once you decide you want the application, it can be purchased for $20USD ($25 for the iPad), and then installed on the mobile device of your choosing. It may be particular useful for the iPad and iPhone, due to all their design limitations. One of the most blatant of these is the aforementioned lack of flash compatibility. Let us take a moment to remember one slumping moment of Apple’s history. Just over a decade ago Apple was in such a sad state of affairs that they needed a 150 million dollar bailout from MicroSoft. Apple’s war on Adobe’s Flash is well out in the open. The result of it is you can’t readily use flash on their mobile devices. They sure play hardball for a corporation that was once completely flat on their back. As a result you need an app to do something as basic as browsing flash based websites.
So there are two ways to think about AlwaysOnPC. First, it provides access to a secure virtual computer that is entirely your own. Second, it allows you to surf the web like you expected your iPad to, without the limitations imposed by Apple’s technology war. It’s been suggested that favorable public opinion played a role in Apple’s first bail out. I’m not sure karma’s on their side should the need for a second to come along. In the meantime, AlwaysOnPC provides is a tool to make up for the missing pieces, while the big players fight it out.