The Friday Notebook: March 24, 2017

Featuring Gabe’s thoughts on Citrix rumors, Jo Harder on XenApp app certification, Jack on Windows Store apps, assorted Apple news, Android O, Android Security Review, Hypori, PowWow, and more.

Here’s what happened and what was interesting in the enterprise mobility and end user computing space in the week leading up to March 24, 2017.


Powwow released version 5.0 of their SmartUX platform this week. One of the primary goals of SmartUX 5.0 was to facilitate consolidation of different pockets of SmartUX deployments around an organization. Many of their customers were using SmartUX on a per-business unit basis rather than as a corporate strategy. To help with this, SmartUX 5.0 has seen a revamped design tool that allows you to create and apply application templates and global styling to apps. You can re-use these templates (64 of which are built-in, but you can create your own), for example the login screen, with all the applications you want to deliver. Ultimately, 40-50% of each application can be built from templates, giving you more time to focus on app-specific things.

Powwow was once focused on transforming Windows applications into mobile apps, but they’ve been moving towards a complete RMAD solution lately. This release inches them closer, but also retains the capability of creating workflows that incorporate elements of web and Windows applications into a rapidly developed, low-code mobile app.

Citrix has been busy all month releasing details of XenDesktop Essentials and XenApp Essentials, so we’re guessing the release of each will be sooner than later. At the very worst, we should see them by Synergy. In the meantime, the actual details of each platform are being shared. Earlier this month, Bas van Kaam posted a great rundown of the XenDesktop Essentials details, and this week Citrix released details on pricing for XenApp Essentials. Next week we’ll add to the conversation with a post from contributor Jo Harder.

IBM InterConnect was this week, and the news for endpoint management was the melding of MaaS360 and Watson. Essential, the idea is that it will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to detect threats and recommend management and security policies. (Our TechTarget colleague Ramin Edmund covered it on SearchMobileComputing.) This is an example of how AI and machine learning is affecting IT.

Hypori announced a whole round of updates to their virtual mobile infrastructure platform (VMI is like VDI, but with remotely-hosted Android delivered to mobile clients.) These include support for Android 6.0, fingerprint scanners, shared devices, and more. We still haven’t been able to talk to any companies with VMI in production, but if we learn anything we can share, we’ll be sure to write about it here.

The Android O developer preview was announced, and it includes updated enterprise capabilities. My favorite new general feature is the autofill API; they’re also working on better physical keyboard support.

Also from Google this week is the Android 2016 Year in Review (Blog post | complete PDF). We’ll have to spend more time digging into it, but Google noted that the Play store is the safest place for Android, saying, “By the end of 2016, only 0.05 percent of devices that downloaded apps exclusively from Play contained a PHA [potentially harmful applications]; down from 0.15 percent in 2015.” They’re of course working to make the world outside Play store safer, noting that things got slightly worse last year, but they highlight other efforts like the monthly update program that started in late 2015.

The Apple TV is getting support for a lot more EMM features, including the Device Enrollment Program. This news actually comes via Jamf, which announced support in a release this week. We’ll get a chance to dig into this more next week, but for now, there are some details in Jamf’s release notes.

Speaking of Apple, this week they announced a cheaper (USD $329) iPad, which many people agree will be good news for education, as well as bigger storage options for the iPhone SE. The iPhone SE happens to be great for companies that are using it as a barcode scanner, mobile point of sale terminal, or other extended enterprise use cases, since it’s compatible with accessories going all the way back to the iPhone 5, introduced in 2012.

And the last bit of Apple news: They’ve acquired an app called Workflow, which does automation on iOS. We haven’t heard of it before, but it sounds like it could bring some interesting opportunities to enterprise mobile apps. (Here’s more from TechCrunch.) This looks should be fun to dig into over the next few weeks, so if we come up with anything cool, we’ll share it.

Our blog posts

Gabe and Jack: The BriForum successor is here—GeekOut 365 is our new online home for independent technical sessions We re-posted this announcement from last week to make sure everybody saw it. Let us know what you think!

Jo Harder, guest contributor: Software developers: Need to validate/certify your apps on Citrix XenApp? It’s not as hard as it sounds, even for developers without Citrix experience. Jo Harder explains how to do it.

Gabe: Thoughts on Citrix's potential sale: 2017 Edition. This time it feels different. Rumors of a company acquiring Citrix appear from time to time, but this time it seems like it might actually happen. Here's my impression of the situation.

Jack: It doesn’t matter if the Windows Store stores never takes off. The future of Windows, as well as desktops with large displays, mice, and keyboards, isn’t dependent on any one type of application.

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