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Microsoft Updates Windows Phone 8.1 Remote Desktop App

A new preview version of Microsoft's Remote Desktop App for Windows Phone 8.1 was released last week.

Version 8.1.2 of the Remote Desktop App preview for Windows Phone 8.1 arrives with a few minor enhancements, including the ability to perform NetBIOS name resolution, in addition to the usual Domain Name Server lookup. It is also easier to find the short name of the PC that the user is trying to connect with. Lastly, Microsoft made it easier for Windows Phone 8.1 users to access the screen-based keyboard when tapping into a text field. The screen keyboard now automatically shows up and will scale to fit various device sizes, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft's Remote Desktop App is a downloadable application that allows the client device to connect with a remote PC. It typically might be used to connect a Windows Phone 8.1 device with a work PC, or to connect with multiple remote desktops.

This latest release comes close on the heels of Version 8.1.1, which Microsoft released in early June. Unfortunately,Version 8.1.2 still doesn't contain enterprise and management functionality that's associated with three yet-to-come Remote Desktop improvements.

For instance, the new preview still lacks support for Remote Desktop Gateway, which enables encrypted transport. There's no support for the Remote Desktop Connection Broker, which is used to establish session-based connections. Also, there's no support for RemoteApp, which is a special kind of configuration that lets Remote Desktop Apps appear as if they were typical installed apps on a device. There's a technical difference between accessing full desktops remotely via Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services Protocol and using RemoteApp, including varying bandwidth, according to Microsoft.

Those three enterprise-level Remote Desktop improvements will be added sometime "later this year" to the Windows Phone 8.1 app, Microsoft has promised.

In addition to the new preview, Microsoft also announced last week that it is seeking feedback on which features to add next to its Remote Desktop App release. So far, the top suggestions include the ability to synchronize connections to OneDrive, the ability to connect from anywhere (even from behind a router) and the ability to change the device's screen resolution before establishing a remote connection.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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