Nivio has opened beta testing of a service allowing users to access a standard Windows desktop from any browser on any operating system.
Users can access a Windows XP system without the need for PC hardware, using a web browser on an Apple Mac, Linux or handheld device.
Once fully launched, the standard £7.99 (A$19.21) package will include a Windows XP desktop, 5GB of storage, backup, virus and anti-spam protection, as well as access to hundreds of software programs to try or buy.
Applications supported by Nivio include instant messengers from Yahoo and Microsoft, QuickTime, Adobe Reader, iTunes, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.
However, Nivio claims that the death of the PC has been exaggerated and that its functionality will simply transfer to more personal devices.
"It is only a matter of time before the PC is just a browser," said the company in a statement.
"Browsers are being incorporated into more consumer devices every day, from TVs to game consoles. So we don't know what you will use to connect to your desktop, we just know you will want to."
Nivio, an offshoot of Swiss firm SMX iNet Global Services, hosts its service in data centres in New Delhi and Switzerland using Swiss data protection laws.
The company claims that the service will run satisfactorily at data connection rates as low as 128Kbps, although it admits that the high latency of GPRS and 3G connections can cause problems.
Nivio tests virtual Windows desktop
By Matt Chapman on May 9, 2007 2:17PM