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 won’t elaborate on, say, the RDP protocol itself, its advantages and disadvantages when compared to other protocols etc.
I’ve tested it on both QVGA and VGA Pocket PC’s and MS Smartphones. It should, essentially, work on Symbian S60 devices exactly like on the MS Smartphone platform; therefore, I didn’t separately test it on my Nokia N95. I haven’t run tests on my Blackberry either – essentially, the BB client must be far less different from its generic (non-BB-specific) Java brother than in the case with RDM+.
As it’s strictly Java-based, you’ll need a MIDlet manager to run it. See my MIDlet Bible for more info. I’ve 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, it’s quite sensitive to smooth scrolling and other types of animations. Benchmark results:
Smooth scrolling (1sec): 2.8k/5.6M (!!!)
No smooth scroll (0.5 sec): 2.8k/1.1M
It’s 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+:
- Here, the mouse pointer does hover
- It uses the entire screen estate (no visible menu / operating system bars)
- There’s no context menu by click-and-holding the screen. However, you can bring it up any time by clicking the (relocatable) menu icon; it’s 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 – for example, you can’t configure it not to use 8-bit color depth. In this respect, it’s 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
Compared to the built-in RDP client (Remote Desktop Mobile (RDM) – not to be mistaken with SHAPE’s 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 – then, stick with RDM). With RDM, all thumbboard keys work as expected (Enter, Del etc.); in TSMobiles, they don’t. Tested on both the HTC Universal and the HTC Wizard (Pocket PC’s) and the HTC Vox / s710 (MS Smartphone). Incidentally, on the latter, you can’t 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)– 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, it’s WAY better than RDM (let alone TSC). In order to make it work, make sure you tick in “console section” 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 doesn’t 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 didn’t 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, let’s see how TSMobiles behaves on QVGA devices):
On QVGA devices (as opposed to VGA ones, where, due to the remote desktop’s also being VGA, there’s no need at all for zooming in), the menu also contains a “Zoom in” 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 “Scroll mode”:
As you can see, the touchscreen is utilized by default by the program.
(QVGA) MS Smartphone compliance
Works OK on MS Smartphones. You’ll need to use the “5” key to bring up the menu:
The other keypad shortcuts are as follows (note that they’re usable even on a Pocket PC – 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 isn’t affected by the screen bug of all Jbed versions – unlike, say, the Gmail MIDlet. That is, you won’t need to try to use the full screen Jbed 3D hack explained HERE.