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. For example, Windows 8 doesn't have it, but Windows 8 Pro does. If you want to go this route, that's a $99 in-place upgrade from basic to Pro.
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. Huzzah!
The other major addition is clipboard synchronization. If you've ever used the Chrome To Phone app, you know how this works: selecting, highlighting, and copying text from your computer will allow you to paste it into any text field on your Android device, and vice versa.
One of the better recent additions to the Chrome browser is a remote desktop tool, developed and implemented by Google and usable between any two desktop computers running Chrome. When it showed up in the Chrome Web Store, we figured that it wouldn't be too long before some kind of Android integration was developed. Googler François Beaufort announced that work has begun on "Chromoting," an Android app that allows users to control remote Chrome clients.
At the moment there's very little to go on, just a screenshot of the app icon in a drawer. Work has definitely begun on the app itself, as noted in the Chromium Appspot code review.
Today's Amazon Appstore deal is quite the bargain, and its value speaks for itself. Jump Desktop isn't the only remote desktop client out there, but it has no shortage of features. The app supports both RDP and VNC protocols, so if you have either already configured on your PC, you're good to go. Jump Desktop does not require that you install additional software on your machine. Awesome? Awesome.
The app allows you to control your computer as though it were a tablet, with pinch-zoom and two finger scrolling both supported. If you plug in an external keyboard and/or mouse into your Android device, you should find that all the usual keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks work as expected.
Even in its current and somewhat dated form, AirDroid is easily one of the best apps on the Google Play Store. The sheer flexibility and polish of the remote access tool has made it one of the first things I install on any new device. The original AirDroid is still great, but for the last few months the development team at Sand Studio has been beta testing AirDroid version 2, with a ton of new features added to its original toolset. AirDroid 2 will be live on the Play Store in a few hours - here's an exclusive preview of the final build.
Do you use AirDroid? You should. It's a fantastic piece of software. While Google tends to prefer using cloud services to manage your data, there is no central app that can access and change anything on your device. This app fills that need and does so amazingly. It's so great that we gave away 20 invites to the v2 beta recently. Now, the invite-only requirement is gone and it's available to anyone who can download it. Plus, it has some sweet new features you'll want to see.
One of the new features of Airdroid 2 is the ability to remotely access your phone's camera via the web browser.
While it's become commonplace in more civilized parts of the internet for your data to just appear on whatever device you're using (I haven't had to manually move contacts since 2008, for example), sometimes things get left behind. If you've ever felt the sting of realizing that one important file is stranded on your desktop, TeamViewer is here with a healing balm for you: file transfer.
TeamViewer for Remote Control just recently updated to allow users to transfer files both from your desktop to your mobile device, or vice versa. More importantly, the app doesn't require users to go through a full-fledged desktop interface to get to your files.
Splashtop makes some great remote desktop software. I like Splashtop. So please friends, readers, and developers over at Splashtop, keep in mind my love for the company as a whole when I say the following sentence: Charging users $25 to try out Windows 8 on an Android tablet is an absurd, opportunistic, rip off of an idea. Most disappointingly, it will work for a small minority of users. And their money spends just the same as any other.
The madness begins when you discover that the $25 entry fee to the Windows 8 tablet show is a steep discount.
Having the ability to access your desktop or laptop computer from your mobile device is one of the easiest ways to ensure you always have the files that you need, and Splashtop's remote desktop software is on sale today in the Amazon Appstore for $0.99 to help you do just that.
Update: Looks like it's free at GetJar. Save yourself a buck and pick it up from there. Thanks, Brandon!
Splashtop Remote Desktop, normally $9.99 (though it has been on holiday sale for $4.99), offers smooth HD streaming of remote systems, allowing you to watch videos, listen to music, edit documents, and anything else that would normally do while sitting in front of your computer.
Businesses across the globe turn to Citrix products for their remote access needs every day, and now the company has brought its popular GoToMeeting software to Android devices. GoToMeeting allows you to join meetings and conferences from basically anywhere there is a connection, be it 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi.
You can easily join meetings with a single tap, view presentations and reports, pinch-to-zoon content, see attendance lists, and interact with the presenters through the mic and speakers on your device, though a headset is recommended. The app is completely free, and it allows you to join meetings on Android 2.2+ devices -- if you want to host meetings, however, you'll need to have the desktop software.