Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the latest example of a growing trend to move traditional computer activities to tablets and smartphones. AlwaysOnPC added the Kindle Fire to its list of supported clients this week; the software, available in the Amazon Kindle AppStore for $24.99, connects the Fire with a virtual computer desktop environment in the cloud.
There are definitely some limitations in the AlwaysOnPC solution that are helping to keep the company’s costs down. Instead of a connecting to a Microsoft Windows instance, users will see Fedora Linux on the Kindle Fire. The desktop environment is locked down as well; you’re not going to install apps on this virtual desktop. Firefox and Chrome are both installed, complete with useful browser extensions such as Evernote’s web clipping service. OpenOffice, of course, takes the place of Microsoft Office. Sound and video streaming aren’t yet supported either.
Even with such limitations, however, for Kindle Fire owners who have casual but important PC needs, an app such as this could be extremely useful. It’s smart, for example, that the app supplements the 2 GB of included disk storage with integrated Dropbox support. A conference call with document or presentation sharing is available through Zoho Meeting. And Java applet support allows for apps such as Runescape and PartyPoker.
I haven’t tried the app, and reviews vary, so I’d recommend the free five-day trial available on a PC or a Mac before buying. Regardless, AlwaysOnPC joins OnLive Desktop and other virtual computer apps that are fast finding their ways to tablets. The PC isn’t going anywhere soon, but as noted before, the trend is moving towards mobile devices, as sales of tablets and sales of PCs are heading in opposite directions.
Image courtesy of Flickr user timwilson