$2 a month for Word? Nivio’s virtual Windows desktop client targets students with aggressive pricing

January 27, 2012
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SAN FRANCISCO – Today at MacWorld, Nivio announced the upcoming launch of nDesktop, a new virtual Windows desktop client for iPad, Android, and all HTML5-compatible web browsers.

Nivio follows closely on the heels of OnLive, which announced its own virtual Windows client at CES. However, Nivio’s solution does not support rich media in the same stutter-free fashion as OnLive Desktop.

“Unlike some of the other clients, we don't support rich media,” Nivio CEO and President Sachin Dev Duggal told TabTimes. “We have it running in the lab though, so we know we can make it work.”

One advantage Nivio’s solution has that OnLive Desktop and other virtual Windows services don’t, however, is the ability for users to run their virtual desktops in any HTML5-compatible browser. This “ubiquity” mode allows the usage of applications, email, and file sharing, but won’t offer the same level of performance and features as the native app versions of nDesktop.

Nivio’s revenue model for nDesktop is subscription- and application-based. Signing up for an Nivio account is free, and automatically grants users access to 10GB of data via the company’s nDrive cloud storage service.

To access their own customizable virtual Windows desktop, users have to pay a monthly subscription for access in 10-hour chunks or unlimited usage. To install and use applications, users pay a recurring monthly fee.

In keeping with Nivio’s original mission of providing affordable education for little to no money for students across India, the company’s service will be heavily discounted for students.

Rates for students are $2.00 for 10 hours of Windows access per month, $5.00 for unlimited Windows access each month, and $2.00 for unlimited monthly use of Windows applications. Student use will be based on the honor system.

For non-students, the rates will be $5.00 for 10 hours of Windows access per month, $15.00 for unlimited Windows access, and $15 per month for unlimited use of basic software packages.

nDesktop will open in limited beta on February 1, 2012, and will see a full-fledged release on February 14. Users interested in applying for the beta can do so at Nivio’s web site.

Upon launch, the nDesktop service will feature 120 apps in its nApp Store, including the Microsoft Office suite, photo editing tools, sound editing tools, and CAD software.

At the end of our conversation and brief demonstration—which allowed us to launch several applications, including Microsoft Outlook, Sachin Dev Duggal hinted at an upcoming Nivio announcement that will target the SMB sector in coming months. Details to come as we learn about them. 

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