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Microsoft launches Remote Desktop app for iOS, Android

Microsoft launches Remote Desktop app for iOS, Android

Microsoft's Remote Desktop app, free for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, includes video and audio streaming and full RemoteFX gesture support.

Microsoft has announced the launch of iOS and Android applications designed to provide full compatibility with its Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), providing easy mobile control of Windows-based desktops and laptops.

Part of the company's continued progression to becoming a 'devices and services company,' as kicked off by outgoing chief executive Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft Remote Desktop app is provided free of charge to all and provides support for both RDP and the newer RemoteFX control protocols.

The result, Microsoft claims, is a stable and well-supported first-party application for controlling a Windows-based system from a tablet or smartphone. The initial release includes support for desktop and application streaming and control, video and audio streaming, Network Layer Authentication (NLA) security, a Connection Centre for quick access to remote systems, support for Remote Desktop Gateways, and support for multi-touch gestures.

With Microsoft heavily pushing touch with its Modern UI, a major feature of both Windows 8 and the freshly-launched Windows 8.1, a move to move the Windows desktop onto the touch-screen devices a large percentage of its customers already have makes sense. While some may see it as an admission from the company that its own tablet and mobile platforms, Windows RT and Windows Phone, have failed to make inroads into enterprise markets, those who already make use of RDP are unlikely to complain about a free first-party application for their mobile devices.

Initial reviews, however, are mixed. Many claim it fails to challenge third-party RDP products already available for iOS and Android platforms, and lacks common features such as pinch-to-zoom. The majority of users have rated the release well, though, and Microsoft is unlikely to rest on its laurels and will be addressing criticisms in due course.

The iOS release, compatible with iOS 6 and higher on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, is available for free from the iTunes Store. The Android build, which requires Android 2.2 or higher, can be found on Google Play.

9 Comments

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longweight 18th October 2013, 10:54 Quote
No Windows Phone 8 version?!
Gusseteer 18th October 2013, 11:26 Quote
That might explain why existing RDP apps become sluggish when used with Windows 8.1.
faugusztin 18th October 2013, 11:46 Quote
Works fine on my HTC One against XRDP running on my Ubuntu server .
alex101 18th October 2013, 13:31 Quote
I can't make it work (I have no experience with remote desktoping at all). Can anyone find a tutorial for making it work? The MS help page seems fairly useless.
blacko 18th October 2013, 13:48 Quote
I use RDM+ for iOS. Does the job, however i may gave the M$ version a shot.
suenstar 18th October 2013, 14:49 Quote
Just gave it a little whirl for my work's remote environment on my Galaxy S3.
It works pretty decently right from the start, which compared to experiences with previous applications is quite a feat. It's also quite nippy at connecting compared to a few bloated ones out there.
fluxtatic 19th October 2013, 13:48 Quote
Perfect. I just had people at work asking how they could use tablets for work. They tend to get a bit of a distasteful look at the thought of spending money on an app for it (salespeople = cheap).

That it's from MS is actually a bonus - much as they might be in bed with the NSA, at least I can trust they aren't in bed with Nigerian or Russian scammers.
stuartwood89 20th October 2013, 22:03 Quote
Downloaded it, but can't get it to connect for some reason. I log in with my Microsoft account, I assume I use the same creds when setting up the connection on the app right? If so then there's something else I'm missing (and yeah RDP is enabled PC-side).
adzc1987 21st October 2013, 18:25 Quote
The review mentions some 3rd party ones are better. Does anyone have any suggestions for android? Ill give this a try but would be good to know what ones are also decent :)
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