Although the big Microsoft news on Thursday was the launch of Windows 8.1, the company also released promised Remote Desktop apps for iOS and Android, as noted by The Verge. Last week, Microsoft quietly announced the app as a one-paragraph mention in a press release about "enterprise cloud solutions."
When Microsoft announced the app, they mentioned support on Windows, Windows RT, iOS, OS X and Android. There is a strange, but obvious omission there: no mention of a Windows Phone client. The lack of a press release (at the time of this writing) might indicate that Microsoft isn't eager for folks to be reminded of that situation.
This isn't something most consumers will make use of, but power users will appreciate the app. The company has provided desktop apps for some time, but the mobile app space has been occupied by third-parties such as Splashtop, Citrix, and others. Notably, Microsoft's app is -- as you might expect -- free.
The official feature list for both Android and iOS is as follows:
- Access to remote resources through the Remote Desktop Gateway.
- Rich multi-touch experience with remote desktop protocol (RDP) and RemoteFX supporting Windows gestures.
- Secure connection to your data and applications with breakthrough Network Layer Authentication (NLA) technology.
- Simple management of all remote connections from the connection center.
- High quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage.
- Easy connection to external monitors or projectors for presentations (iOS only*)
* It's unclear if this is missing from Android or simply omitted from the listing. A look at the UI for the clients shows a similar difference, meaning separate teams and QA: The label at the top of an RDP session says "My Remote PC" in Android and "My Remote Desktop" in iOS.