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How can the Citrix X1 Mouse benefit virtual desktop users?

Citrix isn't known for hardware, but the X1 Mouse ties in well with its XenApp and XenDesktop products by making it easier to use virtual desktops and apps on iOS devices.

The Citrix X1 Mouse enables iOS users to navigate virtual desktops and applications on iPhones and iPads with a mouse, overcoming a common obstacle with desktop virtualization on mobile devices.

The Windows operating system (OS) and applications are designed for use with a keyboard and mouse, but Apple iOS devices have touchscreens and don't support using a Bluetooth mouse. That combination is usually a recipe for a poor user experience.

Citrix used Apple's Bluetooth communication APIs to connect the X1 Mouse with the Citrix Receiver for iOS application, rather than the actual host OS. To start using the mouse, users simply download the Receiver app from the App Store, and select in the app to pair the mouse with their mobile device. Receiver then uses Citrix's HDX protocol to connect with XenApp and XenDesktop, linking the X1 Mouse to the user's virtual desktop. If users add in a keyboard, they have all the necessary components to interact with virtual applications in the preferred Windows keyboard and mouse method.

The Citrix X1 Mouse is notable as the first wireless mouse able to connect to iOS devices, but it also works with Google Android devices using version 4.0 or later, and Windows mobile devices running Windows 7 or 8. Employees with an iPhone 5 or newer, or an iPad 3 or newer, can use the X1 Mouse, which could be a boon for companies that support BYOD and desktop virtualization.

One of the biggest barriers to getting employees to buy into desktop virtualization is that they want the same native experience as using a physical desktop. The X1 Mouse brings users closer to that experience by swapping out the iOS touchscreen for a mouse that has a left- and right-click button, along with a scroll wheel. Users' iPhones can then double as thin clients, and iPads can function as laptops. The X1 Mouse makes iOS devices more flexible, which can benefit companies in several ways -- either by enabling more productive remote access to virtual desktops and applications, or by eliminating the need to provide separate thin clients to employees with iOS devices.

The Citrix X1 Mouse only works within the Citrix environment, but it is fully compatible with XenDesktop, XenApp, and mobile apps via GoToMyPC and ShareConnect. With BYOD becoming more common, Citrix found an innovative way to help out iOS users who previously had to fumble around on their touchscreens.

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