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Mobile App Pick: Team Viewer

App type: Productivity
Platform(s): iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), Android
Publisher: TeamViewer GmbH
Release date: April 5, 2011 (latest version)
Price: FREE (Team Viewer Pro is $99.99)

Download Team Viewer for iPhone, for iPad, for Android, or for PC, Mac or Linux

When I announced that would be regularly picking mobile apps that integrate in interesting ways with traditional Windows platforms (Windows client or Server), readers of this site and listeners of the Windows Weekly podcast overwhelmingly voted for Team Viewer, which is this week's pick. And I can see why: It's free, it works well, and it supports a wide range of client types, including the iPhone (and iPod touch), the iPad, and Android devices.

Team Viewer is a traditional, interactive remote desktop solution. It's free, but only for personal use, and that free version can't be installed on servers, including, unfortunately, Windows Home Server. And while this is a problem for me--I very specifically need WHS access--I suspect it won't be a problem for many readers. And if that's the case, you'll find that Team Viewer works very well indeed.

Like other similar solutions, Team Viewer lets you interactively control a remote computer as if you were sitting in front of it. It works over any Internet connection, neatly bypasses firewalls and routers for seamless connectivity, and utilizes encryption for security. It has nice controls for such things as the screen resolution and scaling, keyboard commands (CTRL +  ALT + DEL and so on) and generally works exactly as you'd expect.

Team Viewer on iPad, remotely controlling a PC.
Team Viewer on iPad, with remote screen zoomed in via screen pinching.

Unlike other similar solutions, Team Viewer can even be used without installing it: Simply run the application on each computer (the one you're sitting at and the one you wish to connect to) and you can be up and running in just a few minutes. This is a nice answer for all those ad hoc support calls we all get from friends and family and it makes Team Viewer an invaluable addition to your tool belt even if you typically use other remote access solutions for your own needs.

The Team Viewer client doesn't even need to be installed.

There are also some unique support-related features, though most of these don't work with the mobile clients (they do work on PCs, for example). These include the ability to chat with text, voice (using Voice over IP), and even video. There's even a conference call function that works with normal phone numbers. And you can use the client--installed or just by running it--to broadcast presentations over the web.

Team Viewer video chat.

With all this functionality, I can see why Team Viewer is so popular. This one comes highly recommended.

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