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Make Citrix Mobile Apps Work In The BlackBerry Handset

Rove brings Citrix mobile apps to BlackBerry with only a few hitches.

Sean Ginevan

November 2, 2007

2 Min Read

Don't Toss Your Laptop

While we were impressed with the presentation side of the Mobile Citrix Client, we ran into some problems. Mobile devices are notoriously finicky; they lose their cellular connection, run out of battery power, or simply crash (though this happens less and less frequently). Without session persistence, a connectivity loss can wipe out your work. To test Rove's capabilities in this regard, we instantiated a copy of Microsoft Word over Citrix and then pulled the battery. We tried to reconnect to our existing session, but after opening Word, we were surprised to find that a new session had been created.

Rove says it's working on session persistence but adds that "most customers use the Citrix Client in emergency situations in order to get into a particular application like SAP, update a record, then disconnect." We believe a more robust session management framework is needed, even if the client is only intended for brief periods of use.

Where Rove stumbles is in the area of mobility. Users can multitask between the Citrix client and other BlackBerry applications but, due to limited device resources, multiple sessions to the Citrix server cannot be launched from the device.

There's also no way to easily launch a separate application within the Citrix environment. We were able to run multiple applications simultaneously, but when we used File Explorer to open an Excel and a Word document at the same time, there was no easy way to switch between those tasks. Instead, we could either minimize all applications and scroll to the bottom of the screen or use Windows task manager (users can send CTRL+ALT+DEL commands to a server via a menu option).

One of the challenges of architecting mobile applications is streamlining business processes so that the same interface pulls from multiple data sources cohesively. This is an area where Mobile Citrix Client 2.0 needs work. That said, if you already run a Citrix environment and have a mobile workforce that lives on BlackBerrys, Rove is worth a look.

This story was updated Nov. 5 to clarify how users can multitask between Citrix Sessions and other BlackBerry applications.

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