Earlier this month Good Technology announced that they are entering the desktop space (those are my words, not theirs). Good is bringing Good Work (email) and Good Access (browser) to Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 on laptops and tablets. I talked to John Herrema, Good’s SVP of product management, to find out more.
The basic idea is simple enough. Good wants to have secure client apps available for many different types of endpoints, especially now Windows tablets are growing in popularity. But there’s more to it than that. This concept (which I guess we can all “containerized apps for desktops”) is pretty interesting—it takes all the techniques that normally apply to mobile app management and applies them to desktop apps.
Let’s take a closer look at what Good is doing:
- They’re providing their full email and PIM experience and a browser. (They’ll be two separate apps.)
- The apps are based on Chromium and HTML5 (including the email/PIM client), and the browser provides a full, modern desktop experience.
- Everything is built on top of the Good Dynamics mobile app management framework, so the apps are encrypted, securely connected to the enterprise, can be remote wiped, do host inspection, and so on. They can also cache data locally to allow offline work.
- The apps work both in keyboard/mouse mode and touch mode, and are built for larger devices, not phones. (They already have a Windows Phone app.)
- (See screenshots at the bottom of this post.)
This is all way simpler than traditional home-access PC techniques, and more secure since it adds the encryption and containerization.
The obvious main use cases are for BYOD and for partners, contractors, and other extended enterprise situations. John mentioned that one of Good’s customers is even interested in using it for consumer banking.
Good plans to have a Mac version next year, but they don’t plan on supporting Windows 7. (Since fewer personal computers are Windows 7 these days the ROI just didn’t make sense for them.) The browser is available in beta now, and the email client will be available in beta later this year.
Besides these first two apps, they’re excited all the other future possibilities for combining the Good Dynamics framework with HTML5 apps. Keep in mind that these days Good Dynamics is growing beyond just mobile app management to the point where it also includes a lot of mobile backend as a service functionality. (You can read about MBaaS here.)
Overall I love this concept. Containerized apps for desktops are a simpler and lighter alternative to VDI/RDSH as well as Type-2 hypervisors. Just last week Gabe wrote that the future looks good for Type-2 client hypervisors; but with so many of our applications being web-based, I’m not so sure—I think containerized desktop browsers could cover many of these BYOD and extended enterprise use cases.
Good isn’t the first to go in this direction—this is similar in concept to Workspot’s desktop clients and the former Moka5 Project SkyNet. There is somewhat of an overlap between Good and Workspot, but for the most part they’re targeting different types of customers.
For Good this is just another new set of client apps, albeit ones that can open up a range of new use cases. They can give these to their existing customer base, and they should be simple to start using. I’m definitely interested to see where this “containerized apps for desktops” concept goes.
Here are a couple of screenshots of the email client, provided by Good: