Sunday, October 16, 2011

RDP Client for Mobiles

I have been looking for a good (and cheap) RDP client for my Android phone. I was about to pay $25 for Xtralogic's software when I saw the one from Jump Desktop for only $0.99. Having tested both, I find the Jump Desktop one better than the much more expensive one.

Jump Desktop's price for Apple is $14.99. Better grab Jump Desktop for your Android before the price goes up.

Jump Desktop's RDP client has the following useful and better features:

  • It is both RDP and VNC. But I have not used VNC myself.
  • It is a standard RDP client, but at the same time, if your host is on an internal network and you don't know its external IP address, you can configure Jump Desktop to go via Google for connectivity instead. I haven't tried it myself, but I think the host contacts "Google's servers" (according to the FAQ), your client contacts Google, and Google makes the connection. Neat if it works.
  • It has two "cursors", making use on a small phone screen lots lots easier. There is a big circle which you can drag to move the host's Windows cursor. Touch anywhere else and you can drag to pan the viewport showing the host's desktop or dual touch to zoom. As it is likely that your phone's display is smaller than your host's desktop, without this feature a terminal session is not practical.
  • Popping up the Android's virtual keyboard does not cover the host's desktop. Hence, you can see what you are typing.

One thing I can't find on Jump Desktop is audio options. For one of my hosts, I need to let audio play on the host as it is doing a recording. [Oct 31 Update: the latest version allows you to configure audio options, just like the Windows version.]

Like Xtralogic's, Jump Desktop does not run in the background, and it exits without prompting if you hit the Android back button one too many times. [Oct 31 Update: the latest version has a confirmation dialog before quitting.]

After purchasing Jump Desktop, I discovered Wyse's PocketCloud Remote RDP, which is free.  PocketCloud is almost the same as Jump Desktop except that it cannot zoom by touch.  You have to touch +/- keys on the screen.

I have tested Yongtao Wang's RDP Lite some time ago and I found it too basic. What I am surprised is why Jump Desktop has only 1,000+ downloads when Xtralogic has 10,000+.

In conclusion, if you don't want to spend a single cent, go for Wyse's PocketCloud.  If you can afford a dollar, try Jump Desktop.

For a screen shot, see the dcpromo on two feet.

After using RDP on a mobile for a few minutes, I came to realize that it's not like working on a PC.  A PC is true multi-tasking and you can jump from any window to any window.  Working on mobile is a bit restrictive. If I press the Home button, I don't know whether the current app will run in the background or the system will kill it after a while.  Hence, if you are working on a remote session via RDP, and a call comes in, what should you do?

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