If you're not an IT manager or an employee of a company with a sizeable tech infrastructure, feel free to skip this post. But if either of those descriptions fit you, you may be interested in Amazon's latest foray into B2B services. Amazon WorkSpaces is a remote, virtualized desktop - basically your own personal Windows machine that lives in the cloud - and it's got an Android client just one day after the service was launched.

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From an end user perspective, WorkSpaces is very similar to all the other remote desktop apps out there, except that you're not logging into a physical machine. From a corporate perspective, Amazon is now competing with the likes of Microsoft and VMware in the realm of virtualized cloud machines. This sort of thing definitely isn't for everyone - you'll need a corporate system in place to begin with, and pricing is between $35 and $75 a month depending on the virtual hardware, software, and services you want.

Amazon's description is pretty short, but the interface looks similar to the likes of Splashtop - basic point-and-drag gestures, some menus accessible via a side-swipe, that sort of thing, with a general Kindle Fire. WorkSpaces is intended for use on tablets, and also has clients for iOS, Windows, Mac, and the Kindle Fire.

Amazon WorkSpaces
Amazon WorkSpaces
Developer: Amazon Mobile LLC
Price: Free

P.S. Amazon Video has been around since before the first Android phone, and there's still not a general Android client in the Play Store. A new toy for corporate customers? Client pops up the next day. C'mon, man.

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 13, 2013-- Today at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced Amazon WorkSpaces, a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire,and Android tablets. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for their users at less than half the cost of most traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions. To learn more about Amazon WorkSpaces, visit http://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/.

On-premises VDI solutions offer the benefits of centralized desktop management and security at a high cost, requiring companies to invest in network and storage infrastructure to support the delivery of a high-quality virtual desktop experience. By migrating enterprise desktops to the cloud, Amazon WorkSpaces eliminates both the up-front investment and the ongoing management of infrastructure while still offering all the security and efficiency of a centralized model. For a low monthly fee, Amazon WorkSpaces provides a complete cloud-based desktop computing service including compute, persistent storage, and software applications.

“Over the past couple years, the new service customers have requested most frequently is a virtual cloud desktop service,” said Gene Farrell, General Manager of Amazon WorkSpaces. “They’ve been frustrated by the available options – traditional desktops that are hard to manage and keep secure, or virtual desktops that are expensive and deliver inconsistent performance. Amazon WorkSpaces aims to address these issues by offering secure, easy-to-manage, high-performance desktops in the cloud at a fraction of the price of traditional VDI.”

Amazon WorkSpaces offers the following benefits:

  • Fast, easy set up. Customers select from a range of Amazon WorkSpace bundles that provide a choice of CPU, memory, storage and applications – and launch any number of desktops with a few clicks. Amazon WorkSpaces can integrate with a company’s existing Active Directory to allow end-users to use their existing enterprise credentials to access their Amazon WorkSpace.
  • Choice of desktops and devices. Customers can choose to install their own applications or use applications available through Amazon WorkSpaces, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader and Firefox. Users can access Amazon WorkSpaces from PC and Mac desktops and laptops, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets. The Amazon WorkSpace client will be available for download from the Amazon WorkSpaces desktop client download page, the Amazon Appstore for Android, Google Play and the iTunes App Store.
  • High-Quality User Experience. Amazon WorkSpaces includes technology components licensed from Teradici, and leverages the PCoIP (PC-over-IP) protocol to compress, encrypt and encode the users’ desktop computing experience and transmit ‘pixels only’ across any standard IP network to users’ devices. In addition, the WorkSpaces Sync client lets users sync their documents between theirAmazon WorkSpace and other computers so that they always have access to their documents. This client will be downloadable at no charge from the Amazon WorkSpaces client download page, and the Amazon App Store for Android, Google Play and the iTunes App Store.
  • Cost-effective. Amazon WorkSpaces requires no upfront commitment and offers monthly pay as you go pricing with a TCO that is half the cost of most traditional virtual desktop infrastructure environments.

“Our enterprise customers have been asking for us to deliver a virtual desktop solution that is simple to manage, scales up and down as needed and doesn’t require large capital investment or heavy operational support. Until now that solution has not existed,” said Robert Groat, Chief Technology Officer, Smartronix. “We're very excited to see a solution for virtual desktops done the ‘Amazon Web Services way.’ Beyond the productivity benefits, we believe enterprises will save over 40 percent of the life cycle cost for desktop services while also gaining additional benefits such as built-in security, telecommuting flexibility, high availability and simplified operations management.”

To learn more and sign up for the limited preview of Amazon WorkSpaces, visit http://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/limited-preview/.