Imagine you need a software like Office, GIMP or Notepad++, but don’t want to install a new app or your computer doesn’t have minimum specs for this software. In such situations, you can make use of certain services to run desktop or mobile apps in your web browser without downloading or installing them on your device.
These web services provide a cloud runtime environment for numerous apps and allow you to run and use these software across different platforms using just a browser. Moreover, the apps are interoperable and adaptable to different workloads and environments. That means, you can start working in the cloud with in minutes.
Alright, let’s check out some of the best web services I’ve shortlisted for you, along with their different features and capabilities to run numerous apps/software directly in the web browser.
Out of all such web services I’ve tried out, rollApp excels in features and stability over others in this list. An online virtualization platform, rollApp is very easy to sign up, use and connect to your cloud storage.
This platform provides access to 230+ on-demand software in different categories such as word processors, graphics and education tools, system utilities, games as well as development apps.
- Open 500+ file types directly from your computer using its rollMyFile tool.
- Test drive any application by registering or logging in using Google, Facebook or Amazon ID.
- Open, edit and save files in your cloud storage including Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, WebDAV or Box (pro version only).
- Copy and paste text between running apps.
- Pause or resume your work any time in case Internet connectivity disrupts.
- Provides tools to manage running apps and gives information on usage capacity.
- Offers APIs for developers to integrate its cloud virtualization technology in their own web apps that enable opening and editing different file types.
- You can run a maximum of 3 apps under its basic (free) subscription.
- For apps with heavy resource requirements you need premium subscription.
- The free subscription doesn’t allow saving modified files in your cloud storage.
- You can print documents only from certain compatible applications.
- Doesn’t offer clipboard support between cloud and local desktop apps.
- Doesn’t save data automatically and thus, data loss may occur when the app window is closed directly without first saving.
If you want to try out or test mobile apps in the browser, then Appetize is the tool for you. This web service allows previewing, using and testing apps on a cloud simulator directly from the browser.
Its web interface facilitates uploading, updating and embedding as well as streaming apps to end users for experience testing.
- Works as an emulator and simulator in the web browser.
- Allows embedding the simulator on your own website using iFrame.
- Immediately streams iOS and Android applications on any modern browser.
- Helps in iOS and Android app development through testing in the cloud.
- Allows simulation of device (e.g. iPhone or iPad) by customizing the device, its scale, orientation and color, etc.
- Supports automated testing using Appium plug-and-play hosted solution.
- You can connect to its remote device for debugging warnings and errors.
- Enables tracking and auditing usage of your apps for analytics purposes.
- Lets you set up access settings and permissions for training or customer service.
- Its API lets you upload new apps (.apk or .app files), update existing apps, change app settings and list apps on the account.
- Requires you to create a simulator built of the app (a zipped copy).
- Offers free usage for only the first 100 minutes per month on basic subscription.
Of all the solutions in this list, Cameyo is the only service that offers most features for free (with limitations, of course).
It is an app virtualization platform that allows packaging and running portable versions of Windows apps, and supports running apps in the browser using its cloud virtualization. Cameyo is the only web service in this list that lets you directly execute Windows programs – online as well as offline.
- Allows to test-run various apps, simultaneously.
- Easy to learn and use, and offers numerous applications.
- Lets you run Windows apps on Chromebook, Linux, and Android, etc.
- Connects and syncs with your Dropbox or Google Drive, and supports opening as well as saving files from these cloud storages.
- Enables uploading your own tool or software to its online virtualization platform and running it in the browser.
- Limits its free subscription users to run an app for 15 minutes per session.
- May run a few apps slowly that consume heavy system resources.
If you’re looking for an Android emulator in the cloud, then Manymo would suit you the best. This emulator lets you test or run Android apps directly in the web browser, hence you can experience and enjoy apps even without having an Android device.
Manymo mimics the simulated device with the look & feel of a real device, and works well for trying out apps or playing games (may not work for heavy games) on various platforms including Windows PC.
- Works better than the default Android emulator provided by Google.
- Runs as a lightweight web page on any browser on operating system.
- Supports emulating various devices having different dimensions and DPIs that you can choose before running the application.
- Allows embedding the Android apps in your sites for your visitors or customers to enjoy or test a full-fledged app (let’s say to “try before buy”).
- Enables collaboration via shared links for taking feedback on your apps.
- Its free plan offers limited emulator launches only 10 times per month.
Last but perhaps the most powerful service is Turbo – a virtual platform for running, testing and deploying Windows apps and services in the cloud. The apps run through a browser extension installed in your web browser that works without admin privileges, thus eliminating installation or dependencies issues.
It offers 1000+ apps in various categories like players, browsers, chat, productivity, servers, system and developer tools, with no administrative privileges or drivers. Turbo, however, offers very limited features for free.
- Available as a cloud service and an on-site (desktop) server with all the latest applications and various types of integration with the host desktop.
- Runs the selected app in isolation within a secure container environment, enhancing security and preventing conflict with other versions or programs.
- Supports accessing local files from its virtualized software.
- Allows networking between containers including custom routing and redirection, etc.
- Facilitates saving the program state and automatically synchronizing your data with its cloud.
- Supports running apps in offline mode with synchronization when the Internet connection is restored.
- Requires installation of its browser extension or its service in Windows which you may not find an easy task.
- Virtualizes and offers only Windows compatible software and not others.
- Offers just 1 GB storage to users opting free or basic subscription.
- Its free subscription lets you run apps on Windows platform only.
With such web services offering cloud virtualization technologies, you can try out different apps without installation, take risks to run unwanted apps on your system and host your or your team’s favorite apps in the cloud for quick and easy access. And that’s just the beginning of what all such services can help you achieve.
rollApp and Cameyo can be useful for running on-demand programs on any device. On the other hand, Appetize and Manymo are good options for running mobile apps or play games from almost any platform. In a business environment, these services provide a quick virtual app system to help your team begin working on something great without facing infrastructure issues.
Have you ever thought of running standalone apps in your browser? Do you know of any other such web service? Do tell us using the comments.