Friday Notebook, December 13: Citrix releases “intelligent experience;” Parallels RAS 17.1

Also: FIDO in iOS 13.3; Nutanix Xi Frame; Workspace ONE for Microsoft Endpoint Manager; HP Adaptive Device Management; Yubico; Chrome password protection; reminiscing about Windows 10 Mobile.

This is our weekly log of desktop virtualization, enterprise mobility, and end user computing news.

Our blog posts

Rachel: One year since the acquisition, how has Nutanix Xi Frame progressed? The DaaS market is getting hot, and that means more competition for players that had an early lead.

Kyle: With HP Adaptive Device Management, you can manage Windows from the cloud-even legacy apps. Move into the cloud while using SCCM and Intune to manage your devices with additional HP features.

Jack: VMware Workspace ONE for Microsoft Endpoint Manager: What does it mean? Again, one of the big questions is when you want to move on from SCCM. 

Jack: The essential enterprise mobility management (EMM) resources, version 1912. Now with updated resources for iOS 13, macOS 10.15, and Android 10. 

Industry news

The Citrix Workspace intelligent experience became generally available on Thursday. The new features, originally announced at Citrix Synergy 2019, include the “intelligent feed,” personalized workflows, and some new connectors. In a way, this is the culmination of the Sapho acquisition and all of the employee experience talk we’ve heard over the last year. 2020 will be the year when we see if Citrix’s employee experience efforts start to pay off with more general-purpose users (i.e., those not necessarily using virtual desktops).

iOS 13.3 went live this week, bringing with it the ability to natively use NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO security keys on iPhones--a feature we’ve long been awaiting, given it’s been on Android for years. I (Kyle) am working on an article looking at this further. 

Yubico announced on Monday that their Yubico Authenticator app now had support for NFC. While the app was available on other operating systems, it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that it landed on iOS--featuring just Lightning support. The Yubico Authenticator app allows for the use of security keys with apps that accept other authenticator apps but lack security key support. The app stores OTP on Yubikeys, which can be plugged into the device (if you have the Yubikey 5Ci) or used with NFC to authenticate accounts.

Google Chrome is getting improved password protection features in M79. Google built their Password Checkup extension into Chrome, which compares passwords against those in a compromised passwords database. Google says that both your password (as well as whether or not it has been used in a previous breach) will be known only to you. Users can enable/disable it in Sync and Google Services, while enterprise admins can manage it via the PasswordLeakDetection Enabled policy. Google also announced that Safe Browsing will now provide real-time phishing protection. Lastly, Chrome will warn signed-in users when they type one of their stored passwords into an unusual site.

WorkspaceONE UEM 1912 is out; here’s the feature list.

Other reads, news, and notes

Rody Kossen has started a very in-depth series of blog posts about the protocols. In part 1, he covers topics like color perception, bit-depth, and chroma subsampling. Very informative, with lots of graphics.

Last week, we saw news that Mozilla had removed Firefox extensions from Avast and AVG because they were tracking people’s browsing (via ZDNet). This is a perfect example of why modern extensions can be dangerous, even though they come from curated app stores. Earlier this year, Kyle took a look at Duo’s CRXcavator tool, which addresses this exact problem on Chrome.

Briefing notes: Parallels

Parallels Remote Application Server 17.1 launched this week. The update brings multi-tenant architecture; SAML for SSO; support for iPad multi-tasking and Azure Hypervisor; and more drag/drop functionality for mobile devices.

I (Kyle) also got to speak with a customer of theirs, Software2, a U.K.-based MSP focused on providing desktop virtualization for universities, mostly in the U.S. and Europe. Software2 switched to Parallels RAS about four years ago as they looked to move beyond just Windows devices; their previous desktop virt vendor only allowed them to send apps to managed Windows devices. The MSP uses Parallels RAS on the back end, while their front end is the AppsAnywhere university app store. Software2 with Parallels positions themselves as an alternative to Citrix or VMware as a way to save money and reduce complexity (adding/dropping of thousands of students as they enter or leave the school).

There is also an increasing demand at schools for BYOD and students just expect to be able to access their applications on any device they have. More schools are opting to go completely BYOD, with Software2 mentioning one school in Ireland (a Citrix customer, too) ditched all on-site computers, instead providing laptops for students with Software2/Parallels.

Windows 10 Mobile EOL

Windows 10 Mobile reached end of life on Tuesday. This prompted some reminiscing; for me (Jack), the last device I spent time with was the HP Elite x3, which supported a desktop mode with an external dock, monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Here’s my review from March 2017 and some pictures.

I (Jack) also have fond memories of using an HTC 8X for a few months. It was the first LTE phone I ever used, and while it was missing a lot of the creature comforts of an iPhone, it was fast!

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