Microsoft released a remote desktop app for Android just over a year ago, but now there's a new separate beta version of the app listed in the Play Store, and it makes some big changes. Of course, this still uses the RDP protocol, so you'll need a Pre version of Windows to use it. It's pretty robust if you've got the support built-in.
There's really no easy way to remotely access a full desktop machine from a smartphone or tablet, but bless their hearts, the people at Parallels are trying. Their latest product, Parallels Access, attempts to translate remote access into an interface that's more familiar. It crams the basic functions of remote access into a more manageable form, attempting to make the applications on your computer act like Android apps on your phone or tablet.
Google released the Chrome Remote Desktop extension a while back, but it was designed for use with other computers. That's fine if you have one handy, but your phone or tablet is probably more readily available. I know that 95% of my remote desktop access happens from a mobile device, so it makes sense that Google would have a Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android – it just took a long time to happen.
Google is simply on a roll today! As it turns out, the stock camera wasn't the only new app to hit the Play Store today - we now have the Chromoting app as well. Chromoting, for those unfamiliar with it, is a way to securely access your computer remotely by connecting to Chrome running a special Chrome Remote Desktop app. Anyone familiar with Remote Desktop, VNC, and other similar apps should feel instantly at home with Chromoting.
Google's Chromecast is cheap and awesome, but it only performs a very specific set of functions, and even venturing out as far as tab casting gives murky results. Dell's Wyse Cloud Connect, formerly known as Project Ophelia, is a little dongle that can toss up a full Android desktop on any HDMI or MHL-enabled display, and it's now available for purchase. It comes with complete access to the Play Store, so you can use it to keep up with episodes of The Daily Show, listen to Lady Gaga, defend towers, or, you know, be productive.
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.
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.
TeamViewer is a household name, at least if your household does a lot of PC-based remote access. The TeamViewer QuickSupport app is mighty handy if you have to give enterprise-level support to remote Android users, but it's got one big drawback. For full remote control features you need to have a device from a specific manufacturer (or a rooted device from anyone, which is a no-no for both novice users and businesses).
Need to get at something on your desktop, but just aren't nearby? You need remote access, and many Windows PCs have that feature built right in. Microsoft's new Remote Desktop app for Android lets you hook into the included remote access system so you can use your PC from a phone or tablet. It's also completely free.
The computer you're accessing needs to be running the remote desktop host, which is not included in the basic version of Windows.
I've tried more that a few remote access apps on both Android and Windows, and TeamViewer is right up there with the best of them (especially if you work with people who can't get a handle on VLC). Today's Android app update adds some much-needed features to the mobile access app, most notably the ability to silence sound from the remote machine without turning the sound off on your Android device.