Parallels, which prides itself for its easy to use remote access to Windows PCs and Macs, is now expanding to the rest of the mobile world. The latest version of its Parallels Access mobile app not only supports Android tablets but also the smaller sizes of the iPhone and Android smartphones as well.
It is almost a year ago when Parallels Access first debuted, giving road warriors a way to easily access computers, whether at home or at work, while on the go. Since launch, the iPad has been the sole beneficiary of the app, which might make a bit of sense because a tablet affords users the most screen space for controlling and using desktop apps. Iterating on their technology, however, has allowed Parallels to support even smaller screens, and now they're launching their remote access service on smartphones as well.
While most remote desktop apps and services will present users with either a shrunk down version of their desktop, or force them to view the full size in bits and pieces that can fit in the mobile device's screen, Parallels Access integrates almost seamlessly with your device. According to the company, it makes you feel as if you were using a native mobile app. You can even use the mobile platform's own text controls, like copy and paste, for any desktop app. Desktop apps that need a microphone will also be able to use your mobile device's mic for that purpose.
The new integration with Android and iPhone devices brings a couple of new features to Parallels Access. On Android, you can actually set up homescreen shortcuts to apps on the remote PC or Mac so that you can launch them right then and there, without having to sift through the list of installed software on the remote computer. And on iOS, there is a new file browser that will easily let you go through and open files on your PC or Mac, which is a tad ironic considering iOS itself doesn't exactly have such a file browser.
While the mobile apps are technically free, the Parallels Access service itself isn't. There is a 14-day free trial of the service, but afterwards, individuals must sign up for a one or two year subscription, at $19.99 and $34.99 respectively, for the ability to access up to 5 remote computers from any number of mobile devices. But those who sign up before June 30 will be able to get the two-year subscription for only $29.99. Employers, on the other hand, will want to avail of Parallels Access for Business, which carries an annual price tag of $49.99. But, until July 31 this year, the service will be offered for free.