Got your head in the clouds? If you want cloud computing with your Android phone, AlwaysOnPC is one way to heaven. AlwaysOnPC is a virtual PC you can now access from your Android phone, or any computer running Java that’s connected to the Internet. First released for the iPhone and iPad, it’s now available on Android 2.1 or later.
AlwaysOnPC allows you to access files no matter where you are, as long as you’ve uploaded them to your virtual PC. Your free account provides 2 GB of storage, plus the virtual PC has OpenOffice suite. That way you can work on your Microsoft Office documents from your phone even if you don’t have any compatible apps that can open those files. Firefox is on the virtual PC too, including some limited Flash use. (Supposedly it doesn’t yet support audio or full-motion video, but some Facebook games can run.) Add-ins for Firefox are available, but the site doesn’t explain if they all work.
The client is a “VNC-like” app that resembles a PC screen. Virtual Network Computing implies using the RFB protocol to control another computer, but in this case your “computer” is virtual; it’s your slice of a server running Linux. Dropbox and GoogleDocs are supported for additional offline cloud storage.
Another advantage of AlwaysOnPC is you can open very large files on the virtual PC that would not fit on your phone or low-powered computer.
AlwaysOnPC’s deveoper, xform computing, says they provide 40 apps to your virtual desktop. In addition to the OpenOffice suite and Firefox, they provide Mozilla Thunderbird for email, a Pidgin instant messaging (IM) client, Dropbox, Adobe Reader, and a photo and image editing app. xform claims their client browses the net privately and does not pass URLs, IP addresses or content (unlike LogMeIn, GoToMyPC or WebEx, they say). Logging in to AlwaysOnPC is via secure ssh connection.
Video demos (using Apple products) are available here. As you can see and hear, they could use a little more excitement from the narrator.