German screen-sharing company Mikogo has launched what it calls the first-ever HTML5 cloud desktop (pdf). Unlike Onlive's similar product which streams a Windows Server-based desktop to an app for Android tablets and Apple's iPad, Mikogo's Cloud Desktop is accessible from any device with an HTML5-capable web browser. Apps, plugins and additional software is not needed.
"Once the user has logged into their Cloud Desktop they can access their very own operating system, software applications and files directly from within the browser," the company said on Friday. "With the entire computer system being accessible from any location, the Mikogo Cloud Desktop eliminates the need for setting up remote access systems as well as syncing and pairing multiple devices. They can then log in from any other computer or device and access the very same computer system."
Mikogo said that users will have a selection of operating systems to choose from, including Windows 8. Thus, a Mac OS X or Windows XP user could actually open a browser, log into Cloud Desktop, and use Windows 8 without having to create a separate partition on the hard drive, or use a different machine altogether.
"The service itself consists of two parts: one is the gateway, which is highly secured — this is part of the HTML5 technology – and from there you can access the Microsoft OS on the backend," Marcel Maron, Mikogo’s IT operations manager, told GigaOM.
Mikogo says Cloud Desktop can do the same as any regular computer and more, allowing users to run any software application within the virtual environment, access your local files, conduct download-free online meetings and more. Mikogo also promises low IT costs: pay what you use on a monthly or yearly basis without having to invest in expensive hardware, IT staff or licenses.
GigaOM adds that Mikogo is offering Windows Server by default despite what the PR claims. Last year OnLive was slapped on the wrist by Microsoft because its streaming desktop service offered the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) version of Windows 7 for a monthly fee. The Redmond company said that was against its licensing rules because (1) customers must use their own purchased license and (2) the hosting hardware must be dedicated, not shared. This forced OnLive to ditch Windows 7 and resort to Windows Server instead.
That said, if customers want to connect their own licensed terminal servers to the gateway, then Mikogo will gladly help, GigaOM reports. If not, customers can use Mokogo's own servers either in Europe or the United States.
For more information about Mikogo Cloud desktop, head here. Interested users can sign up for a demo account by filling out a form at the bottom of the page.