Splashtop Remote demoed on Dell Streak at CES 2011

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At the Digital Experience press event during CES 2011 last week, Splashtop Inc used a Dell Streak to showcase its Splashtop Remote desktop software and newly released Android app.

Splashtop Remote allows you to control any PC or Mac (beta) connected to the internet via a local WiFi network using an Android or iOS device, which means that you can use your Streak to access your computer and all the programs and files stored on it. Yes, you can even do things like watch Netflix and Hulu from Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, or any other web browser because the Streak basically becomes a handheld version of your computer with all of its multimedia capabilities.

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Considering that Splashtop Remote will work on just about any modern Android device (Froyo and beyond is recommended), it was a nice surprise to see the Streak on display at the event.

The desktop software is free and the Android app is $4.99, which is really a bargain for all the functionality you get. There are so many use-case scenarios for access to/control of your computer and let's not pretend that it won't impress your friends.

Local computers are discovered automatically, it works in both landscape and portrait mode, connections can be password-protected, and there's also an option to mute the remote computer so that audio is only played back on the Streak. Various on-screen gestures can be used for computer actions like clicking, scrolling, and dragging.

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Splashtop Remote is one of my favorite new apps (it was just released last week) but there are two "issues" that may make it unappealing to some people.

The first is that it will only display on the Streak (and other devices) in one of two resolutions: 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768. Your computer's contents won't scale down to the Streak's native resolution, so you'll either have to pan around (which is very fast and smooth), pinch zoom as needed (also very fast and smooth), or deal with a letterbox.

The other thing to note is that the Streak and computer need to be connected to the same WiFi network. Despite its name, Splashtop Remote isn't designed to actually be used remotely over 3G or some other WiFi network. So you can't access your home computer while you're at work or on the road. The company should definitely be more clear on this point, as the word "remote" is very misleading.  Update: With port forwarding and some possible re-configuration of your firewall and router, it actually is possible to use Splashtop Remote over 3G and other WiFi networks. Nice!

Even so, I still love being able to have real Hulu filling the screen on my Streak!

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[Splashtop]
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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