OnLive Desktop Makes the Jump to Android

OnLive Desktop Makes the Jump to Android

Mar 2, 2012

OnLive has brought their previously-iPad-only remote desktop service OnLive Desktop to Android. Similar to the iPad version, this lets Android tablets connect to a Windows-powered desktop replete with Microsoft Office application like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint available. As well, there’s the option to subscribe to OnLive Desktop Plus to gain access to a Flash-powered web browser. This works basically identical to the iPad version, with the difference being that it supports a 1280×720 widescreen resolution. Otherwise, it works similarly, with the same access to files when logged in from any other platform.

While having access to a Flash-based browser is less of a concern on Android where mobile Flash is still available, there are two potential applications. One, the browser streaming is fast enough watching Flash video – including free Hulu. They still haven’t caught on to OnLive Desktop. It also appears to be based in LA, based on the KABC logo that appears on Hulu videos. MLB.TV subscriber who’s not a fan of a team in the LA blackout area? Here’s a solution! Second, with mobile Flash development ended, this may be a superior long-term option for those users.

The widescreen resolution does help to make the keyboard a little bit more usable, but it’s still a lot better with an external keyboard. This may be better as a remote dekstop solution than the iPad, because of one great thing: mouse support. While hovering over items and right-clicking doesn’t entirely work perfectly just because of the fact that it is emulating touch, not operating as an actual mouse, but it still helps out greatly when trying to operate a desktop computer on a tablet. Grab a USB host cable, a travel-size mouse, and an external keyboard, and here’s a potential laptop replacement.

Otherwise, my 148Apps review covers all the ups and downs about the Plus service. Buying the service can still only be done via the website, and the Pro service that allows for user apps to be installed is still yet unavailable, and subscriptions must be signed up for through the website, not anywhere in the app at all. OnLive Desktop is now available from the Android Market.

PocketCloud Updates To Further Integrate Android with Desktop

PocketCloud Updates To Further Integrate Android with Desktop

May 18, 2011

PocketCloud will be updated soon with some features that really set it apart from the remote desktop competition. It’s already recognized as one of the best remote desktop apps, these new features make it even better.

Mount your Android device on your Windows Desktop – this feature will allow you to directly access your Android file system from your Windows desktop. Very convenient way to transfer files to and from your device when connected to a remote machine. With this feature you won’t need to go through a cloud storage provider like Dropbox, you just direct connect and drag and drop.

Stream remote audio and video directly to your Android device – this feature will automatically re-encode your media appropriate for the connection speed you have and stream it directly to your device. Some remote desktop devices try to stream video playing on the remote desktop, which rarely works well, especially over a 3G connection. This re-encode and stream solution should provide for a much more robust experience.

Remote printing – you will now be able to print from you Android device to any printer connected to any of the remote desktops you have connections to.

Bluetooth devices support – Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support turn your Android tablet into a mobile workstation.

These updates should be hitting soon. Keep an eye out as they make and already great remote desktop app even better. Wyse also showed us a few new features they are working on for future updates. These updates should take it up yet another huge notch.

PocketCloud is available on the Android Market in Paid and Free versions.



Sep 24, 2010

Remote desktop is one feature that’s been around forever but never seems to break into the realm mass adoption. And with laptops and now tablets becoming more and more portable, needing to log in to your home computer (if you even have one) seems less and less relevant. But why worry when apps like PhoneMyPC are still plugging away at the age old remote desktop question. And hey, they do a pretty darn good job at a simple, seamless way to log on to any Windows PC with an internet connection.

The most dreary aspect of remote desktop is always the setup (and those who have edited port forwarding on their router config now what I’m talkin’ about). PhoneMyPC, however makes it completely pain free. Just download their desktop app (Windows only) and install. Then just type in a user name and password you want to use, download the Android app from the Market and use that same login to see your PC. Whichever PC’s you have used with said login name automatically appear in the app, and you are one tap away from remote control heaven. This simple process differs from other apps on the Market that just interface with Windows’ built-in remote desktop client.

More Than One Way to Party
Once you log in to your computer you get a list of fun stuff to do. Besides the normal “control my PC from afar” mode of operation, PhoneMyPC offers some interesting and possibly extremely useful features. The first on the list is remote mouse and keyboard control. This lets you use your phone’s touch screen as a touch pad. I found the tracking very accurate. Tap to click, long tap to right click and click your joystick to drag. Not only that but you can pull up your virtual or hard keyboard and get typing. I could see this being really useful for a media center PC. Your phone is now a great couch remote and input device.

The other extra features that seem more like icing than real meat. For example: “snapshot” and “live” view, are like “read-only” views. Maybe if you want to spy on your kids this could be useful.

Other features like “execute actions” which lets you run programs with command functions, and also an emulation of windows task manager appeal to the advanced user set.

Interact with your PC
So, how does PhoneMyPC perform at its most important task? Admirably well. You get an overview of your desktop that you can pinch to zoom in to. Just tap anywhere for a mouse click (much like the mouse control view). The joystick on my Incredible acted like a mouse pointer however and middle button provided a click as expected. Dragging was not so easy, however, as long taps trigger right clicks. One is supposed to be able to drag by pressing the trackball button, but I couldn’t figure it out.

The response time was quite respectable, even over 3g. The screen redraws are sometimes sluggish, but you can change the display quality setting from low to high with 5 gradients to balance the bandwidth. I found the medium quality display was both readable and snappy.

For a real life test I decided to attempt to email my self a document and see how frustrating it would (or wouldn’t) be. So, I logged in and went down to the task bar in search of the file explorer. After I found it, I zoomed in to tap on my documents folder. It only took one tap and I was in. Once I found my file I long-tapped to open the context menu. No problems so far. Then I found the ‘send to email’ item and up popped Thunderbird . I had to zoom out to find the section of the screen it was in. Now, entering my address was the only place I messed up. The typing with the virtual keyboard was a bit laggy, and I accidentally tapped my friends name instead of my own. This was quickly corrected and before I knew it, the file was on its way and landing in the inbox on my phone.

Not bad if I do say so myself. It’s great if you leave your computer at home and want quick access to files. Don’t expect to be able to watch videos from your computer on your phone of course, but controlling your PC is no problem. There is one big quirk to this app: if your screen times out, the app completely closes. That means you will have to completely relaunch it any time your screen turns off. Strange but true.

So there you have it. While remote desktop may only be essential for IT administrators, it can be very useful for a sizable subset of users. For a simple and fun solution, PhoneMyPC will definitely have you covered.