At the beginning of the year, we were invited to participate in the beta for Amazon’s upcoming WorkSpaces product. We just had to demonstrate a “reason” to be in the beta and then they’d hook us up.
Our beta plan was to use ourselves as the primary users and address on-call engineer needs. We rotate on-call coverage but sometimes you don’t want to carry a laptop everywhere you go during your on-call week. Or sometimes you’re caught with just a tablet or smart phone. These days you can get a lot done with a mobile device, but it rarely can compare to what can be done with a proper computer.
We built a Workspaces machine for each engineer and then configured the WorkSpaces client for all of our various devices. There is support for Android, IOS, Windows and Mac. The client is lightweight and snappy and the Android client has some nice extra shortcuts and menu’ing to help you get more done without a keyboard. (I have to confess I haven’t seen the IOS client – presumably it has similar niceties).
On my Android tablet (an HP Slatebook X2) with the snap-on keyboard and touch pad dock, the experience is just like I’m using an ultraportable laptop – with far more powerful than my Slatbook. If I detach the keyboard it still works quite well though, Just not as “native” feeling, of course. Read more →