You can't spend all day sitting at the computer, but sometimes remote access is almost as good. VNC Viewer from Real VNC is a way for you to connect to a computer through any number of VNC clients, and it's pretty popular. However, it used to be a $10 app. Put your wallet away – it's free now.

22 11 33

The app dropped to $0.99 early today, then to free. As we all know, when an app is made free in Google Play, it cannot be made into a paid app again. The app itself hasn't been updated, so no in-app purchases have been snuck in. Presumably the Android app has been dropped to free in order to push premium RealVNC client licenses. A free app simply attracts more attention, especially in the wake of Logmein cancelling its free service tier. This app should connect just fine to third-party VNC servers too.

Real VNC's premium server option provides some additional features like encrypted connections and system authentication. There are also free basic licenses for VNC's client if you want to go that route. Using VNC requires a bit more configuration, but it can be a powerful tool. Now you can use one of the more reliable apps without risking $10.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • jeffrey beck

    Sometimes I use a VNC on my tablet to use adroid apps through Blustacks on my laptop on my tablet. Why? Because I can.

    • WORPspeed

      Though I love the because we can line of motivation, keep in mind that is how jurassic park started. Too much could instead of should

      Credits: Saw someone else post the could vs. should debate about Jurassic Park a few days ago as a comment on either AP, phandroid or engadget.

  • Jaymoon

    Hmm, I wonder if RealVNC's definition of 'forever' is different from LogMeIn's?

    I sure hope so!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      They can definitely add IAPs in the future, but right now it's free, since the app just dropped in price to free but wasn't actually updated. They haven't responded to my query from this morning.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Which one is better though? TeamViewer, VNC or Microsoft's app (for Win8)?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I use VNC and RDP for different purposes. VNC on home computers because VNC doesn't take over the desktop and just connects to it. RDP for cloud computers, because I don't care if the desktop is taken over as there's no monitor, and RDP has better latency/compression and display scaling (because it essentially becomes a virtual display).

      RealVNC VNC server/viewer are my VNC server/client of choice, I think I picked up this app for $5 on sale. Nice to see it free.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Oooh, then Imma try this app someday. Cheers!

        • Ryan

          I've been using VNC for years due to a friend of mine in the tech business. Its a nice app for Android and I use it constantly to connect to my systems at home when I'm at work. It does come in handy when I need them.

      • John

        Yep. This is great to see it become free. I'll still continue to use JumpDesktop because I grabbed it on Amazon's FAoTD a while back. You can't beat the option to RDP/VNC over an SSH tunnel, which is configurable per connection.

    • Peter

      worth noting that VNC protocol isn't encrypted in any way. It can be tunneled thru an SSH connection though.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        The RealVNC Enterprise server supports encryption, and this app is the only one on Android I've tried that supports it on the client level.

        • raindog469

          While it doesn't support RealVNC's non-standard encryption, bvnc supports SSH tunnels (without needing to set them up in Connectbot) and two other encryption protocols natively. Also, bvnc has always been free and it's also open source. The same author offers two other remote desktop programs, for the RDC and SPICE protocols, though I haven't used those because I don't really use Windows or QEMU.

          Nice to have multiple zero-cost options, but RealVNC's security is actually pretty limited unless you've already bought their server package.

    • didibus

      TeamViewer if you want the least hassle. It's install and go. You won't have to fiddle with anything. I also find it to be faster than VNC personally.

      RDP is faster than both VNC and TeamViewer, but it works a bit differently. I also think some versions of Windows don't have it, like Starter and Home, not sure. I still find TeamViewer simpler to use.

      If you want really fast remote connection, from your local network, go with Splashtop. You can even remote videos and music it's so fast. I found that over the internet, it is really slow though.

      And a last one that is really fast, faster than RDP, VNC and TeamViewer, but still slightly slower than SplashTop is NoMachine. This one is more complex to use and setup though.

      All are free for personal use.

  • PhineasJW

    "As we all know, when an app is made free in Google Play, it cannot be made into a paid app again."

    Really? So what's the rule ...?

    If it was free from the beginning, it can become a pay app later, if the developer chooses?

    But, if it was pay initially and dropped to free, it can never go back to paid?

    • Brayden Reesor

      Nope. Free apps can never become paid. Even if they start free. And when you drop an app to free, you can't change it back to paid. It gives you several warnings in the developer dashboard.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      No, no free apps can ever go to paid, no matter how. Paid -> paid, Paid -> free are OK. Free -> paid isn't.

      • Mike Reid

        It's useful to understand why this rule is in place, though I'm not sure it's ever been officially published anywhere, so this could be called "speculative rumor".

        I think the original intent was to prevent people from installing a free app, and some time later be "fooled" into buying it, if it converts to paid.

        But In App Purchases aren't TOO different than going paid. And it's hard to imagine there isn't some good way to avoid "fooling" users into paying, and that's kinda what IAPs are in many cases anyway, LOL.

        I guess hypothetically Google's software may not be well architected to easily transition Free-> Paid. But I'd guess that's an issue that's likely been fixed as IAPs and other features were added.

        Also, it is mostly true that now it will "Forever" be free. But nobody can force developers to update an app. And it IS still possible to "unpublish" an app, which makes the app difficult-impossible to re-download or update.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I think (just like on iOS or Amazon Appstore) that rule would have been very easy to get around. Once you "purchase" a free app, it's yours, even if the price goes up. So I don't think that's why they're doing this. My theory is it's to avoid unfair competition of developers releasing apps for free and hiking the price later to cheat velocity/trending lists. But if everyone could do it, wouldn't it be relatively fair? Too bad, Google doesn't think so.

          • NOT RahmEmanuel

            My theory is it's to avoid unfair competition of developers releasing apps for free and hiking the price later to cheat velocity/trending lists.

            Bingo. It's a no-brainer, really.

            Google had two choices: (1) Rig up an algo to compensate for such shenanigans, or (2) Save time, money and potential aggravation by simply disallowing them via TOS.

  • me

    The Realvnc viewer is crap, not enough options. But the Realvnc server side app is great. I just use bVnc to view it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      What options doesn't it have? At least I found it to be sufficient to do what I want.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    RealVNC confirmed the drop to free, and no sign of IAPs. http://www.realvnc.com/company/press/news/realvnc-commitment-to-free-remote-access.html

  • Aliasgar Babat

    RealVNC is good remote support tool. Additionally, you may even try using RHUB remote support servers for remotely accessing computers from anywhere. It works well.