Citrix announces XenMobile 8.6, adds support for Amazon Kindle Fire and Samsung KNOX

Today Citrix is announcing version 8.6 of XenMobile, their mobile device and mobile app management product.

Today Citrix is announcing version 8.6 of XenMobile, their mobile device and mobile app management product. There’s a laundry list of new features, but one including one in particular stuck out to me—the GoToMeeting integration in the Worx Mail app. I’ll take a look at this first, then run down the other features.

Worx Mail app updates

GoToMeeting integration has always been part of the Worx Mail app in some way or another, but this new version is especially interesting. Basically, the calendar automatically recognizes invitations from GoToMeeting. When you open up an event, there are a couple of options:

  • First, there’s a button that can automatically launch the GoToMeeting app and log into the meeting.
  • If you’re just dialing in via phone, it can dial for you and then automatically enter the meeting ID.
  • There’s also a “running late” button to that can send a message to the meeting organizer.

(WebEx invitations are also supported, and other formats are coming in the future.)

Think about those times when you’re dialing into a conference call from your phone and you don’t have your computer or another device in front of you, so you have try to write down the code or try to memorize it so you can enter it manually. This isn’t the end of the world, but using the Worx Mail app would make this inconvenience disappear. It’s little features like this that show what enterprise apps can do to be more useful and attractive to users. (And from the "A picture is worth 1000 words" department, check out this blog post from Citrix's Chandra Sekar

PIN unlock for Citrix Worx apps

Another new feature for Citrix Worx apps is a PIN-based single sign-on system. User credentials, typically for Active Directory, can be stored as a certificate on the device, which is used for authentication when a PIN is entered. A token can be used so that PIN only has to be entered once for multiple apps, and to keep the apps unlocked for a period of time set by an administrator. (The idea is that if you’re using MDM to make sure that the device has a passcode, you can keep the token alive for an extended period of time, or if there’s no MDM in place, you can require the PIN to be entered at all times, or at least after a much shorter time-out period.)

For right now this feature is only for the Worx apps that are made by Citrix, but in the future they want to expand it to all apps that use the Worx SDK. (Update: Wednesday, October 30, 10am PT: I got word from Citrix that this new PIN feature will actually work for all Worx-enabled apps.)

More MDM API support

XenMobile 8.6 is bringing support for Amazon Kindle Fire and Samsung KNOX management APIs, as well as the new iOS 7 MDM APIs.

When it comes to custom Android management APIs, implementation can vary from one EMM vendor to another, so I asked Citrix for some more details on their policies. Here’s what they shared with me:

For Amazon Kindle Fire, XenMobile supports:

  • Silent app installation and removal
  • Prevent apps from being removed
  • Device restrictions, including the ability to prevent users from doing the following: use location services, perform a factory reset, use Bluetooth, turn off the WiFi connection, and install apps from outside of the Amazon App Store.

(We can assume that these Kindle Fire policies are on top of what you can do with any basic Android device, which includes password policy, encryption, and remote wipe)

For Samsung KNOX, XenMobile supports:

  • Provision Exchange account in the corporate container
  • Disable pop ups, cookies, auto-fill, and Javascript in the browser
  • Silently remove apps from the corporate container
  • Container passcode policies
  • App blacklisting
  • VPN for apps in the container
  • Remotely lock, unlock, and reset the container passcode.
  • Remotely wipe the container

The bottom line on XenMobile 8.6

What can we take away from this announcement?

For one thing, while Citrix is going down the road of integrating enterprise mobility management with desktop virtualization, XenMobile is still keeping pace with independent EMM vendors like AirWatch and MobileIron.

Aside from that, as I mentioned before, the GoToMeeting/Worx Mail integration is interesting because it shows the sorts of things that enterprise apps can to become more than just basic tools. Let’s hope hope that we see more things like that.

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