Remote desktop on a tablet is great, but why settle for a reliance on internet connectivity?

Windows Desktop App - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereEarlier this week, one of my colleagues wrote about how Windows is a nice app to have on the iPad. This, of course, is accomplished through the use of Splashtop, which allows you to remotely connect to your home computer with minimal performance issues, and cloud storage services. But personally, I’d rather have the tablet experience and Windows desktop combined into a single machine, leaving a traditional computer for instances where you need a lot of processing power like high-end games and video editing tools.

In many ways, Windows RT is very similar to an iPad or Android tablet – although the yet-to-be-officially-launched Windows Store is still admittedly small at the moment. But Windows RT is unique in that it supports the desktop in a limited capacity, bringing with it a free copy of Office Home & Student 2013, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. I have yet to find a word processor on iOS or Android that suits my needs, so including Office with Windows RT eliminates one of the big reasons to remote desktop into your home PC.

Then there’s the built-in support for Flash. It’s safe to say that most people don’t like Adobe Flash, but a vast number of websites are still very reliant on the plugin. This often makes it difficult to browse the internet on a device which doesn’t support it natively, like the iPad. Even Android, which used to support Flash, no longer does so. But both Windows 8 and Windows RT will support the technology on most websites. Once again, this eliminates one of my primary uses for remote desktop.

Of course, if you don’t want to worry about remote desktop at all, Windows 8 is the way to go. Each Windows 8 tablet will have full support for the desktop, so all of your applications will continue to run like they have on past versions of Windows. A common misconception is that all Windows 8 tablets will be big, bulky, and expensive. This, however, is thankfully not the case in most circumstances. And with Intel’s new Clover Trail processor, these devices will be able to match – and in some cases best – the thickness and weight of the iPad.

So while an iPad or Android device with an app like Splashtop works quite well, it seems odd to settle for something that relies on a constant internet connection. With Windows 8 and Windows RT, you get the best of both worlds. And the desktop truly is an app.

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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/ Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.

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6 thoughts on “Remote desktop on a tablet is great, but why settle for a reliance on internet connectivity?

  • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

    The ZTE tablet you’re linking to is 700 grams and doesn’t even list in-use battery life, just standard. That’s heavier than my iPad 2 by quite a bit, I’ll have to assume battery life isn’t impressive since they don’t list it, and the same goes for price. It’s set to release Q1 2012…that’s two years after the iPad 2 came out. The iPad 3 is a step backwards in my opinion so I won’t even use that as a comparison.

    It’s really great to see that Windows-compatible hardware is getting a bit more competitive, but I don’t think you would win a comparison like that quite yet.

    Saying that Android no longer supports Flash is a truth with some modification. It still works perfectly fine on the devices that had it installed before it was pulled, which is the absolute majority of devices out there. Not that it matters, Flash is crap and I even use extensions for my PC browser to make sure it can’t load without my permission.

    As for an internet connection, you’re right of course, Splashtop doesn’t work without one, so if you don’t have an internet connection, you’re screwed. For me that’s an absolute non-issue as I always have an internet connection where I would possible use Splashtop.

    Still, the absolute deal breaker for me is the following: My iPad can run a Windows computer remotely much better than a Windows tablet can run an iPad remotely. While that’s Apple’s fault for the iPad being locked down, it doesn’t change the end result. As long as there is software on both platforms that simple isn’t available on the other, a setup that can run both is going to win in my book every single time.

    • Avatar of Vakeros

      I agree with most of Andreas points except his last, which is actually his key one. I wouldn’t want to remote onto an iPad. I see absolutely no value in doing so – therefore it is a non-issue not being able to remote onto it. That being the case, and especially as I think that Bill’s thought line is that people have one desktop and one tablet, then if my tablet isn’t an iPad then a Windows 8 or RT would be best.
      What I am wondering is what the difference between RT and Windows Phone 8 will be?

      • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

        I have actually done so a few times, but that’s not important. I have apps I absolutely need on the iPad, heck, they’re why I have an iPad! I would have moved to an Android tablet long ago had it been possible. As those apps don’t have equivalents on neither Android nor any version of Windows at the moment, that doesn’t really leave me much of a choice.

        • Avatar of Vakeros

          I have to admit I am very curious as to what these apps are and why you would remote onto the iPad to run them, rather than just using the iPad.

  • I agree with most of William’s points, and have even found myself wondering whether or not it will be worth it to keep my Android tablet once I have a similar Windows 8 tablet/notebook hybrid (Surface Pro, one of those announced by ASUS… I haven’t decided yet). Selling my Transformer Infinity and using that cash to get a new Windows 8 device is certainly looking like it will become more and more probable.

  • Avatar of Guthrie

    So, all applications have to be gotten through the Windows appstore is that correct? At least on the arm side? That doesn’t sound like an open windows environment, but perhaps I’ve misunderstood. The fact that the app store for non full windows is so barren is worrying too. So far the whole windows tablet experience seems to be about what might happen which is strange for a device launching in October.

    To me that’s the part that cuts my enthusiasm. It sounds like a platform promising to be all things without knowing which it can deliver. I look forward to seeing but I have no desire to leave just the window of Splashtop. After all escaping full blown windows was what was so great and why mobile devices took off. If you were there for umpc’s and the like you don’t miss it.


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