Tag Archives | iOS

Parallels Access 2.0 Lets You Use Mac or Windows Apps From Any iOS or Android Device

Photoshop CC for OS X running on an iPad via Parallels Access 2.0

Photoshop CC for OS X running on an iPad via Parallels Access 2.0

Last year, Parallels–the company behind the best-selling virtualization software for OS X–introduced a service called Parallels Access.

It let you use an iPad to remote-control your Windows PC or Mac across the Internet, allowing you to run PC apps from your tablet. Other companies had done that before, but Parallels didn’t just cram your PC’s screen onto the iPad: It created an environment which made using Windows or Mac apps as much like using iPad apps as possible, with features such as iOS-style cut-and-paste and a touch-friendly app launcher which looked like the iPad’s own home screen.

When I reviewed the first version of Access, I had some quibbles but was still dazzled by the whole concept, which was bursting with cleverness and technical derring-do.

Parallels Access running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Parallels Access running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Now Parallels is releasing Parallels Access 2.0. There’s quite a bit that’s new–including the fact that it now works on iPhones and Android devices as well as iPads.

The iOS and Android variants of Parallels Access are similar, but not identical. For one thing, they both do a good job of hewing to the interface style of the mobile operating system they’re running on: Cut and paste, for instance, look like they should in both cases.

Both versions also have a new feature or two not seen in the other one. The iOS app lets you use the mobile device’s microphone with apps running on the remote computer, and includes a new file manager which looks like iOS while providing access to files on the distant computer. The Android app, meanwhile, lets you plunk shortcuts to specific PC apps on the Android home screen, a feat which isn’t technically possible in iOS.

Parallels Access for iOS's new file manager

Parallels Access for iOS’s new file manager

Oh yeah, there’s the pricetag. When Parallels originally released Access, it charged $80 to control one computer for one year. It quickly lowered that price. And now it’s slashed it again: For $20 a year or $35 for two years (or $30 for two years for a limited time), you can control up to five computers from as many iOS and/or Android devices as you want. There’s also a new business plan for companies which want to roll out Access to multiple staffers at once.

As before, Parallels Access is amazing: I can’t imagine anyone coming up with a better way to put OS X and Windows apps onto a mobile device which can’t run them natively. But there are some technical limitations which are beyond Parallels’ control. The OS X apps I used on my iPad didn’t have a Retina-like crispness–text was a tad fuzzy even though you can now choose between three different screen resolutions. Not surprisingly, the experience feels most like the apps are right on your mobile device if you’ve got a fast Internet connection. And for all that Access does to make desktop apps more touch-friendly, there are still tasks which are tough to perform with your fingertip, such as selecting part of an image in Photoshop.

For all these reasons, Access doesn’t reduce the need for powerful native apps for iOS and Android–and there are more of those today than there were last year when the first version of Access shipped, including Microsoft’s very credible version of Office for the iPad. But when you want to get your hands on an app or file which isn’t available on your mobile device, Parallels Access could be a lifesaver–and at $20 a year, it’s a reasonable deal even if you don’t use it all that often.

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Scribblenauts, a Cool Nintendo DS Game, Heads to the iOS App Store

Scribblenauts was one of the most innovative Nintendo DS games. To solve platform-style puzzles, players typed the name of any object they could imagine, and that object would come to life on the screen. Nearly any noun in the dictionary–provided it was appropriate for all ages–was recognized by Scribblenauts and could interact with the game world.

Now, a version of that game, Scribblenauts Remix, is coming to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Scribblenauts Remix costs $4.99, and includes 20 levels from the original game, 20 levels from Super Scribblenauts and 10 new levels. It also supports iCloud syncing, so players can continue their game across any iOS device.

In 2009, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime brought up Scribblenauts as a defense against supposedly inferior iOS games. Paraphrasing Fils-Aime, the Washington Post’s Mike Musgrove wrote:

“And have you tried Scribblenauts? It’s a cool new game that has received acclaim from all corners. The title’s unique feature, which has players writing words on the screen that the game brings to life, couldn’t be done in an iPod.”

A direct quote from Fils-Aime follows: “That’s a fabulous experience that can only be brought to life on the DS.”

Uh oh.

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Android Global Share Quadruples, Passes Symbian

The standard meme when it came to smartphones was that while Android and iOS powered the lion’s share of devices sold here in the US, Nokia’s Symbian was the worldwide king. That logic is now outdated according to data from research firm Gartner.

For the first time, Android has surpassed Symbian in terms of units sold in the first quarter of 2010, making up 36 percent of the market. That is a four-fold increase from the same quarter last year, when it only made up nine percent of all devices sold. Much of Android’s gain came at the expense of Symbian, which fell from 44.2 percent a year ago to 27.4 percent.

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Why Google Doesn’t Want The iPhone To Die

Us journalists and bloggers like to make a lot of the battle between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, but it the search engine has a vested interest in seeing the platform succeed. Why? iPhones and iPads are simply sending the site a ton of traffic.

Says Asia-Pacific president Daniel Alegre to AdNews:

“Whenever iPhone succeeds, Google succeeds. I actually don’t look at it as iPhone versus Android. iPhone is a very strong driver of query growth for Google. We also monetise apps through the iPhone..we actually benefit from iPhone’s growth.”

Makes sense. In total the iOS ecosystem is getting increasingly larger, and if you group the iPad and iPhone together, is more than holding its own against the Android platform. Simply put, pissing off Apple is not in Google’s best interest no matter how much they’d like to see their mobile OS be #1.

Google has said previously that the iPhone has been a key driver of growth in its mobile search efforts. So it shouldn’t be surprising that at least publicly executives like Alegre are making such statements. Then again, if all those iPhone users pick up a Droid — the only other really dominant mobile platform — is Google really losing anyway?