PowWow customizes desktop, Web apps for tablets and smartphones

The company's platform costs $25 per month and user

PowWow, a privately held upstart in the enterprise mobile software market, promises to simplify the porting of Windows or Web applications to smartphones and tablets by using virtual application delivery and tailor-made user interfaces.

As more and more companies equip employees with smartphones and tablets or let them use their own for work purposes, there is growing pressure on IT departments to develop mobile versions of enterprise apps. It's generally acknowledged that it isn't the hardware that results in productivity improvements, but the apps that run on top.

Mobile app development has been a struggle for many organizations. But PowWow reckons it has launched a platform that can simplify and speed up the process, according Jonathan Kaplan, co-founder and CTO at PowWow.

At its core, the PowWow platform lets users remotely access applications that run in a data center, on a public cloud or a mix of the two. However, if that was the only thing the company did it wouldn't stand a chance against established vendors in this sector. Instead, it's what PowWow adds on top that makes it a contender.

A key feature is a software layer that adds custom gestures and virtual keyboard to the user interface of each application. A basic touch user interface is added automatically without any coding. What's added depends on the device type and the OS to help make the user interface feel like a native app. More advanced features can then be added on top without much work, Kaplan said.

The company can also add collaboration functionality to any application and file access.

PowWow demonstrated the platform with an iPad client, which employees can use to access applications and documents. The app consists of "rooms" that can be either private or shared with other users.

The platform is available immediately and priced at US$25 per month and user.  A free trial is available for use with a company's own applications for select enterprises.

Because this is such a huge opportunity, PowWow is far from the only company that want to help enterprises make their apps accessible from tablets and smartphones.

The company's platform competes with offerings from VMware, Citrix Systems and Amazon Web Services, which recently made the desktop service WorkSpaces generally available. Earlier this week Microsoft also announced a preview of Azure RemoteApp. The product lets users access Windows applications that run on the company's Azure cloud from Android, iOS and Windows devices.

PowWow also announced it has received $1.1 million in seed funding and has a big bank and large pharmaceutical company on its list of customers. Getting a few big reference customers is important for any startup because it helps improve the company's credibility.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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