Microsoft has launched new remote desktop applications to allow users to access Windows 8 on the move from iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones and tablets. The release comes as users around the world are now able to download the latest version of the operating system (OS), Windows 8.1.
The new apps are available free on both Apple's iOS and Google's Android, meaning the majority of smartphone and tablet users will be covered. Microsoft has thus far neglected to release a client for its Windows Phone 8 platform, which suggests that the firm may be waiting until the release of its next major patch for the OS, dubbed Windows Phone 3.
While many free and premium solutions for remotely accessing Windows machines have been available for a while from third parties such as Citrix and Wyse, this is the first time Microsoft itself has brought this functionality to third-party mobile devices.
The app gains access to Windows 8 devices through remote desktop protocol (RDP), which Microsoft says connects securely. Users are able to connect simply by entering the IP address of the desired machine, then entering their username and password.
Multi-touch gestures are compatible too, with the inclusion of RemoteFX meaning users' gestures on their phone or tablet screen are translated over to the touch-friendly Windows 8 interface.
Microsoft is also touting the app as being data friendly, claiming "improved compression" while maintaining high-quality video and sound.
Many will see Microsoft's decision to launch this software now as rather late, as the popularity of cloud storage coupled with the ever-increasing uptake of bring-your-own-device policies in the workplace making remote desktop access less important.
Nonetheless, for businesses operating more traditional infrastructure models, this remote desktop support could push them to upgrade their machines to Windows 8.
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