In the surest sign yet that Microsoft is embracing a heterogeneous personal computing future in which Windows no longer dominates, the software giant this week announced that it will for the first time be releasing Remote Desktop apps for iOS and Android in addition to versions for Windows, Windows RT and Mac OS X. Call it what you will—post-PC world, PC-plus era, whatever—but everything is changing.
I was tipped off to this story by Mary Jo Foley, who notes in her own post Microsoft to launch new remote desktop apps for iOS, Android that news of these new apps comes via a single line in a press release about Microsoft's coming wave of "Blue"/R2 Server/cloud products:
Further, with Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft is introducing the Microsoft Remote Desktop app, available for download in application stores later this month, to provide easy access to PCs and virtual desktops on a variety of devices and platforms, including Windows, Windows RT, iOS, OS X and Android.
My, my, my.
I had to miss a Microsoft reviewer's workshop last week because of my own company's Connections conference, but my understanding is that I would have seen these new apps in action at that event. According to Microsoft MVP Michel Roth, however, the new apps are very full-featured.
"Microsoft is very serious about enabling BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] by means of desktop virtualization," Roth writes. "When you see the clients you'll notice they are pretty sweet and not as basic or as 'v1' as you might expect. The iOS Remote Desktop app supports iOS 6 and 7 and the Android Remote Desktop app is poised to support Android versions as far back as Gingerbread. The OS X Remote Desktop app provides even more functionality that you would expect from a 'desktop app'. Think about 'seamless windows' or 'applications portal'."
Times they are a'changing.