Sencha melds desktop and smartphone management with Space

The upgraded platform gets desktop client to go along with smartphone and tablet versions

An upgraded version of Sencha's Space platform has the potential to bring together desktops, smartphones and tablets, with lower management costs along the way.

So far, mobile devices have been managed using separate tools, but in the long run that's too expensive. The big trend in the management sector is a move from separate to integrated tools that can manage smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Sencha is best known for its cross-platform development tools. But the company also has designs on the management market with Space, which is a managed application platform for HTML and Javascript-based applications.

Instead of running the apps in a browser, Sencha has developed a more secure client for them to run in. With version 1.2 of Space, the client can run on desktops in addition to smartphones and tablets. Once the client has been installed, users can access the same apps they have previously used on their mobile devices.

"With the desktop client we can provide a secure operating environment for any device you are likely to bring to the table, whether its iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry or a desktop machine," said Nick Harlow, director of product management for Sencha Space.

The new desktop client works on Windows 7 and 8, and a Mac OS X version will be added within a few weeks, Harlow said.

Performance is an often-debated topic when it comes to HTML5-based apps. To get better, as well as consistent, performance on Android, Sencha has developed a custom runtime for Google's OS. The fragmented nature of Android makes it difficult to know if or how well an app will work across a number of different products.

"The end-user experience for HTML5 apps on Android is typically really poor," Harlow said.

Sencha's product is based on the latest Chromium runtime and works across all Android 4.x devices.

Sencha has also added the ability to install the central admin console in a user's data center. Until now it has been cloud-based, but not everyone is ready to get onboard with that. The management capabilities are the same in both versions, according to Harlow.

There are three versions of Space to choose between. The free Team version is limited to 10 users and 10 apps, and basic functionality such as the ability to wipe and lock a device.

For US$4 per user and month, the Workforce version adds better support as well as advanced authentication and application debugging. The number of users isn't limited by the license, but the maximum number of apps is 20. The Enterprise version adds features such as on-premises management and VPN. It doesn't have a price tag on Sencha's website.

Sencha is far from the only company that wants to integrate desktop and mobile device management.

Companies known for desktop management are beefing up support for mobile devices and mobile device management vendors are improving desktop functionality. For instance, Microsoft announced products earlier this week to strengthen the mobile device management part of its portfolio.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

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