REVIEW: TSMobiles: Terminal Service Client for Mobiles
Iíve long been promising a review of a multiplatform (Java-based) RDP client, TSMobiles
(as of version 2.3.14) for quite a long time. Now that Iíve tested its brother
, Remote Desktop for Mobiles (RDM+)
, Iíve decided to give a try to this app as well.
Note that this is a terse, technical, comparative quick review requiring you to understand the contents of my Windows Mobile Remote Desktop Controller Bible
. Therefore, I wonít elaborate on, say, the RDP protocol itself, its advantages and disadvantages when compared to other protocols etc.
Iíve tested it on both QVGA and VGA Pocket PCís and MS Smartphones. It should, essentially, work on Symbian S60 devices exactly like on the MS Smartphone platform; therefore, I didnít separately test it on my Nokia N95. I havenít run tests on my Blackberry either Ė essentially, the BB client must be far less different from its generic (non-BB-specific) Java brother than in the case with RDM+.
As itís strictly Java-based, youíll need a MIDlet manager to run it. See my MIDlet Bible
for more info. Iíve tested it under the latest, most recommended Jbed version, JRebeiro_EsmertecJbed_20071119.3.1
, reviewed HERE
First, some benchmarks.
As opposed to the official TSC (pre-WM6) RDM (WM6) client developed by Microsoft, itís quite sensitive to smooth scrolling and other types of animations. Benchmark results:
Smooth scrolling (1sec): 2.8k/5.6
No smooth scroll (0.5 sec): 2.8k/1.1M
Itís still way better than NetOp Remote Control
9.0 by Danware
and the RDP4-only Mocha Remote Client
1.2 by MochaSoft
in this respect, though.
As opposed to RDM+:
Compared to the built-in RDP client
- Here, the mouse pointer does hover
- It uses the entire screen estate (no visible menu / operating system bars)
- Thereís no context menu by click-and-holding the screen. However, you can bring it up any time by clicking the (relocatable) menu icon; itís in the center right area in THIS screenshot (the shot also displays the menu)
- As can also be seen in the above shot of the menu, only the usual keyboard shortcuts are available in the menu. Their list is HERE
- you can send over function keys and the like by enabling Direct input. Then, thumbboard character (but NOT special character, including Enter and delete! Cursor keys and Space do work) input will be handled as textual, direct input. Clicking the screen brings up a quick selector band at the bottom, which lets for sending special keys
- No configuration capabilities Ė for example, you canít configure it not to use 8-bit color depth. In this respect, itís different from the RDM client too.
- There are (numeric) dialpad shortcuts, making work (for example, left/ double left / right clicks, zooming in/out, bringing up menu etc.) much easier. It works just great!
- No file transfer capabilities
- Also see the advantages (no need to install another server on the desktop) and disadvantages (resized desktop, locking the user out, pretty much limited usability in a corporate environment because of the lack of HTTPS encapsulation compatible with mobile clients etc.) of the RDP protocol itself
(Remote Desktop Mobile (RDM)
Ė not to be mistaken with SHAPEís own, commercial RDM+ controller!) of (most) WM6 touchscreen-enabled phones,
- impossible to use higher color depths than 8 bit (unlike with RDM)
- much worse keyboard support (should you need to enter a lot of text, this can be an issue Ė then, stick with RDM). With RDM, all thumbboard keys work as expected (Enter, Del etc.); in TSMobiles, they donít. Tested on both the HTC Universal and the HTC Wizard (Pocket PCís) and the HTC Vox / s710 (MS Smartphone). Incidentally, on the latter, you canít use the multifunction keys (for both alphabetic and numeric input) - a very common problem with Smartphone apps running on the Vox.
- no sound support (RDM screenshot)
- very sensitive to smooth scrolling and animations (huge bandwidth usage & major slowdown)Ė make sure you disable them all
- no copy/paste (automatic clipboard synchronization) between the remote desktop and the mobile client
- it has a built-in traffic meter
- has a dedicated console mode. In this respect, in theory, itís WAY better than RDM (let alone TSC). In order to make it work, make sure you tick in ďconsole sectionĒ in the account setup dialog as can be seen in HERE
Note that you need at least Windows Server 2003 (Version 5.2 of the underlying RDP protocol) or Vista (6.0) for this to work; regular Windows XP doesnít support this. If you need console mode on XP, go for, for example, RDM+, which does offer it. Also note that, with Vista, console mode didnít work for me for some reason.
- Able to send over any special keys (including function keys), unlike RDM
(The above screenshots are all VGA; therefore, letís see how TSMobiles behaves on QVGA devices):
On QVGA devices (as opposed to VGA ones, where, due to the remote desktopís also being VGA, thereís no need at all for zooming in), the menu also contains a ďZoom inĒ item:
In the zoomed-in state, you can both use the on-screen arrows
(as with the PPC / touchscreen Symbian / Palm / iPhone(?) version of RDM+) and the D-pad for quick scrolling.
Also, as with the non-Pocket PC clients of RDM+, you can redefine the D-pad-based scrolling by switching to the ďScroll modeĒ:
As you can see, the touchscreen is utilized by default by the program.
(QVGA) MS Smartphone compliance
Works OK on MS Smartphones. Youíll need to use the ď5Ē key to bring up the menu:
The other keypad shortcuts are as follows (note that theyíre usable even on a Pocket PC Ė if it has a dialpad or a full QWERTY keyboard; tested this on the HTC Universal and worked OK):
 - Left mouse click
 - Left double click
 - Right click
 - Left click and hold
 - Selecting and sending keyboard shortcut from list
 - Zoom In
 - Zoom Out[*] - Turning on scroll mode
 - Selecting and sending keys sequence (entering text string)
[#] - Opening/Closing Control keys menu
All in all, it works OK and pretty fast on the MS Smartphone platform as well.
Note that, on the MS Smartphone platform, it isnít affected by the screen bug of all Jbed
versions Ė unlike, say, the Gmail
MIDlet. That is, you wonít need to try to use the full screen Jbed 3D hack explained HERE