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Mobile control app bonanza

October 17, 2011

Lately I have begun to hear interesting things about a company called  Splashtop. Friends at the University of North Carolina are looking at their Remote Desktop product, for example. For less than $2.00 you can access and control a computer from a tablet, a phone or another computer. The computers can be Mac or Windows and the tablet/phone can be iOS or Android-based.


I tried the iPad version of Remote Desktop on my iMac and it worked very nicely. If my word isn’t good enough, the product also gets 4.5 out of 5 stars in Apple’s App Store. All of the Splashtop products described here require the free Streamer software to be running on a “host” computer (Mac or Windows). It allows the apps to “talk” to your computer.

The following Splashtop products are limited to iOS devices. They all get decent reviews in the App Store (3.5-4 stars) and some of them are free!

  • TouchPad – use your iPhone or iPod Touch as a remote trackpad for a computer. I tried this app on my iPad in 2x mode and it worked very well. It also worked great on a Windows 7 desktop computer. I tried running it on a second-generation iPod Touch, but the app requires a minimum of G4.
  • Remote Browser – use your iPad to browse the web with Flash, bookmarks, saved passwords, etc. I tried this and it worked fine if my Mac screen was set to the same resolution as the iPad, 1024 x 768. It worked even better on a Windows desktop computer.
  • CamCam – view a computer’s internal camera feed from an iOS device. I was a disappointed that this only works with Windows, but I hooked a webcam up to a nearby desktop and it worked. ($0.99)
  • XDisplay – use your iPad as an external display. This one only works with Windows 7, so I tried it on a nearby desktop PC. No luck; for now it requires a second video output, like most laptops have. (free for 10 minutes at a time, upgrade for $4.99)
  • Whiteboard – turns an iPad into an interactive whiteboard. Sorry, I was too cheap to try this one. ($9.99)
In the case of the apps that only work on Windows, the website gives some hope that a Mac version will eventually appear. I imagine they are also thinking about more Android apps. Also, I tried running the Streamer in Windows 7 over Parallels on my Mac, but it did not work for me.
In general, I would say the Splashtop apps work well. You just have to know pay attention to their requirements and limitations.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2011 11:31 am

    Thanks for this review of the Splashtop apps. I, too, had heard about them, but hadn’t yet had the time to fully investigate. I’ve linked to your post on our eLearning blog here at Texas Christian University.

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