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ss amazon workspaces full screen (2)Amazon today made it cheaper, or at least more flexible, for companies to let their workers access WorkSpaces, a secure Windows desktop computing service that runs in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

Introduced in 2014, WorkSpaces lets employees access documents, applications and other resources from Windows and Mac computers, Chromebooks, iPads, Fire tablets and Android tablets. A competitor to Google Docs, it’s designed for developers or other workers who are mobile, work at home or remotely, or are temporary. An optional, extra-cost manager is available. Here’s a good explainer of the service.

Until now, the service — classified as Desktop as a Service (DaaS) —  has been billed monthly. If it was used at all during a month, customers were charged for the entire month.

Now it’s available by the hour, plus a lower monthly fee. The service starts up when a user logs in and automatically halts within a user- or administrator-selected period of time after use ends. All open documents and running programs are returned to their previous states when the user logs in the next time.

In the U.S., one WorkSpaces license costs $25 per month for a single CPU, 2 gibibytes (roughly 2 GB) of memory and 10 GB of storage — or $7.25 per month plus 22 cents per hour. So the hourly rate will save money if total monthly use is under 80 hours.

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