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8/2/2011
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Array Networks Opens Windows To Android

DesktopDirect for Android offers authentication, authorization, and auditing capabilities, and provides access to remote apps and data without storing information on the user's device.

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Mobile computing is all the rage, but the irony is that business users of mobile devices often want to use their phones and tablets to access applications and files on their desktop computers.

Array Networks aims to enable remote desktop access to corporate computers through its DesktopDirect software and appliance. The company has released DesktopDirect for Android, a free client app that allows Android tablets or smartphones to access Windows applications and data on physical or virtualized desktops through its Array SPX hardware. Pricing starts at $3,995 for a DesktopDirect bundle with 25 concurrent users; the advanced client license, which includes iPhone, iPad, and Android client support, starts at $495.

Last year, Array Networks released an iOS version of DesktopDirect, which InformationWeek reviewed, along with alternative options for desktop remote access like LogMeIn Ignition.

Though iOS devices, particularly the iPad, continue to be popular among businesses, Android devices have been gaining traction too. DesktopDirect for Android offers companies the ability to support remote access without sacrificing security: It provides the ability to use desktop PC applications and hardware in conjunction with strong security controls.

Array Networks' system offers authentication, authorization, and auditing capabilities, which can be necessary for regulatory compliance. And it provides access to remote applications and data without storing information on the user's device, thereby limiting the risk of loss or theft.

Lior Rapaport, DesktopDirect product line manager for Array Networks, noted in a phone interview that a staggering number of laptops are lost or stolen every week, just at airports--16,000 in U.S., Europe, and United Arab Emirates, by one count--and that tablets are easier still to lose. "DesktopDirect means that data never leaves the network," he said. "Right there and then, that problem is resolved."

A benefit of this approach is that less bandwidth is required because less data has to be transferred.

Rapaport also noted that DesktopDirect provides a way to make the proliferating number of Android devices, with their varied screen sizes, easier to manage. "You try to keep up with all of them, it becomes a little difficult," he said. "The UI we developed for DesktopDirect really lends itself to various screen sizes and make it easier to support a larger set of devices."

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