Remote desktop software is an incredibly useful tool thanks to its many functions. What this software does is use a network connection to show another computer's display so that you can effectively 'remote in' without having to physically visit the PC. You'll see the same screen as someone sitting in front of the computer, and you can take over just like you were at the machine. It saves an incredible amount of time and even allows you to work on multiple machines at once. With Splashtop Remote Desktop, you get an excellent remote desktop for iPad. It's like turning your iPad into a Windows tablet!
How It Works
This software is incredibly easy to install and configure. All it requires is a Wi-Fi connection, and the initial setup requires both your computer and iPad to be connected to that same wireless network. I had it all up and running in just a couple of minutes. Here are the basic steps:
- On your iPad, purchase and install the app from iTunes.
- Download and install the Splashtop Streamer software to your Windows PC.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and be sure to remember the password.
The Streamer application stays running in Windows until you are ready to connect your iPad, and it only takes up about 5.8 megabytes of RAM. A small icon will appear grayed out in your taskbar, then will turn into a green color when anyone is connected.
When connected, you'll also see your screen resolution on the PC scaled back to 1024 x 768, or you can make it 800 x 600. It won't get any larger than that and I assume it's for bandwidth efficiency since a larger resolution would require more data to be be pushed and may slow down the overall performance. After you disconnect the iPad, your PC screen will go back to whatever resolution was set before. On Windows 7, my icons all jumped back into place as well.
If you have a Gmail account, Splashtop Remote Desktop can work from anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Just set up your PC and iPad with your Gmail info, then you don't even need to be on your own home network to access your PC. Think about the possibilities that offers.
Since this app lets you go through one operating system to access another, you can expect a few minor issues. Here are some things to consider, but they should in no way deter you from checking out this software.
Your PC Must Be Turned On
In order for this to work, your home or office computer must be turned on and have the Splashtop software running. If your computer is in a power-saving sleep mode, it won't work. This can be a concern because keeping your PC running full blast all the time can cause it to wear out more quickly.
Network Speeds Vary
This software only works over a Wi-Fi connection, so unless you have a wireless network to connect to, you won't be able to make it work. This means you won't be able to access your PC while driving down the road, and I think the main reason for this is that cellular networks don't have the proper bandwidth and throughput to allow this software to work properly. If you use this on the wireless network in your own home, then expect the performance to be perfect. On other networks, such as public places where you might be sharing bandwidth with many others, the performance could fluctaute greatly.
Windows Interface Woes
If you plan to use this software often, you might invest in an iPad or iPhone stylus to make interacting with the Windows OS much easier. The reason for this is that Windows was designed to work with a mouse, and those tiny little boxes and small text menus might be tougher to click on with just your finger.
Why You Need This
If you have an iPad and also own a Windows PC, then you need this app. There are just so many reasons why it might come in useful that this is hard to pass up. Let's look at some examples of how you can use Splashtop Remote Desktop:
File Forgetfulness – Suppose you need to get a file that is only saved on your computer at home. While you ought to be using cloud storage to avoid this sort of thing, you could remotely connect to your PC via your iPad and email yourself the document, or just open it right there on screen.
Run Anything from Anywhere – I do web design on the side, and I use Adobe Dreamweaver to make and manage my client's websites. The problem is that I only have one copy of Dreamweaver and it's at home. If a client emails me needing something changed, I normally have to wait until I get home to perform any updates, but with this remote desktop software I can do it all from my iPad. The screenshot here shows how Dreamweaver looks on my iPad 2.
Windows for iPad – Just look at the screenshots in this article. This app effectively lets you run Windows via your iPad. How cool is that? Anything you can do in Windows, including playing music and movies, can be done through this app. Even the sound will play through your iPad speakers.
On Sale Now!
This app normally costs $19.99 in the iTunes app store, but as of this writing its is only $2.99. Earlier this month (October 2011), it was only $1.99. If you think this app might be something you could use, and I bet it is, then you should not hesitate any longer because the price could start going back up. You'll get a lot more use out of this than you would another goofy 99 cent game!
If you have any other creative uses for this app, we'd love to hear from you. Use the comment section below to tell us how Splashtop Remote Desktop works for you.
- Splashtop Support – Find your computers via Internet discovery
- Image Credits: Screenshots taken by author using an iPad 2. All rights reserved.
- iTunes App Download: Splashtop Remote Desktop