Microsoft is working on a Remote Desktop client for Windows Phone

Microsoft released Remote Desktop apps for Android and iOS, but a Windows Phone solution is still nowhere to be seen. Not all is lost as the company confirmed with The Next Web today that a Windows Phone app is well on its way, but there's no word as to when we can expect to see it arrive on the store.

Here's what a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement:

"Remote desktop on phones is a relatively rare usage scenario. That said, we are working on a version of the app for Windows Phone. We’ll be able to share timeframe at a later point in time."

While it still doesn't make up for the fact Windows Phone is coming second, it's a relatively true statement. Mobile handsets aren't the most ideal solution for remote desktop access due to smaller screens. Still, it would be great to have the client available for those moments when you only require quick access.

We'll have to wait until Microsoft is ready to launch Remote Desktop on Windows Phone, but at least it's on the way. For now, try out alternatives like TeamViewer.

Source: The Next Web

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

245 Comments
  • That's good news... But is is a big mistake to skip their own OS first...
  • ^This +1
  • It seems most of you can't see past your noses.
    Ignore that this app wasn't specifically made for the phone OS' of Android and iOS, but rather their tablets - as is eluded to in Microsoft's response - and is already available for Windows 8 tablets. In that sense, the real culprit is the stores not being unified and the apps not being cross platform.
  • Exactly, people fail to understand Windows vs other OS. Windows is PC+Tablet and RDP is there for years...iOS and Android are Phone+Tablets...but I don't want waste energy to explain where MS is going with one windows...and funny thing is they call themselves MS fanboys.
  • Right on!!! It was made for the competitor's tablets... Shoot I would hesitate to use it on a phone less than 5 inches, I used it on windows mobile years ago.
    On the phone, I was only checking servers and other super minor jobs... Never maintenance. My girlfriend who is in IT downloaded the app for her iPad today. We both had to get on our own and company never to work on things. The iPad app was cool, but we agreed the surface was the real deal. But that app will really be helpful foe IT administrators who use ios.
  • you can control which device will get the app  on google play store and itunes app store. in this case its for all devices. the fact that some people(like me) bought this app http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/remotedesktop/e2af408b-555a-e011-854c-00237de2db9e (its the only one that uses windows RDP instead of rubish remotedesktop or anything and is decent) and use it all the time when im outside, or even im downstairs in the same house, shows that WP needs it, because its windows.
  • Hey man still not a excuse
  • THIS.
  • A few days ago I complain about GDR3 not offering a easy way to attach files on e-mail.  The worst that MS started to target the business, showing diagrams and etc.  How target business if you can't even send a reply with an attachment. I don't have to metion the lack VPN.
    That time, fanboys started to complain that I am kind of traitor, just because I said that even Joe Belfiore have an Iphone, otherwise he can't even answer his e-mails properly on his WP phone. I don't doubt that Belfiore has an Iphone. Even the guys here in WPcentral, they have an Iphone too (some even android)... Why? Because Iphone is light years of WP. They have a Kernel that has been developed more than 21 years. In other hand we restarted our kernel because MS wasn't clever enough to choose NT since the beginner. Now we suffer from the same problem, because MS did not unify the stores when released WP8. Do you know the worst? let me tell, I talked to some devs in Brazil, even a MS guy, about merging binaries from different sources. The guy didn't say that, because he can't say with the words, but yes maybe with the merge of binaries, some phones (even high end) will bleed. Forget 36 months of update, because this updates will be more like to fix some bugs and like GDRs...But after 8.1 and the merge, phones will be left. There is no chance to be like Apple, bring updates to a 3GS (even some less capabalities ) and Iphone 4. To merge binaries even the NT Kernel (will be the same), most of actually phones will not get it. I asked him that, because I know from my XDA's days as heavy android user, to trim new kernel capabilities is expensive, takes more than year, specially because the OS miss so many API's. So, forget you 1020 will not be able to look to new store and the way that the apps will be developed. You will have to beg the devs to encode in the way your phone will be until 8.1 . After the merge forget... Now I will talk about again the poor job of MS, the GDR3 update was supposed to offer new hardware running WP. lol. Do you know that MS will have to rethink the 8.1? Because even with GDR3 and 8.1, MS didn't think in the next level of processor, the 64 bits architeture. Maybe with the merge the hardware will be enabled, but right now and the 2014, forget. They confess it. Google and all the partners are already think in 64 bits architeture, Samsung, HTC, Sony, all will release... We hope, as WP users that MS and specially our OS, with a new policy might get all these things right now. But Until now, have to say, really no clear light on the end of the tunnel.
  • You are dam right about email restrictions. Shame on WP.
  • I'm just waiting for Apple to release something bigger than 4 inches and I'm jumping ship. I am a HUGE MS fan. Own a Win8 Desktop, WP7.8-8, ZUNE HD, Tablet, XBOX 360.
    There really isn't a reason for me to have a WP anymore when the one thing holding me back(XBOX MUSIC) is now on iPhone. It's the only phone I've yet to give a shot. I imagine it to be stable as their Desktop OS has always been known for stability. That's kind of a biggie to me, if not I would probably be on the Android bandwagon(cheaper, nicer looking phones). But I had a bad experience with that OS, so no matter how tempting their phones, I refuse to ever give them a try again. Plus all the google apps are also on iPhone. It's where it's at baby.
  • WTF? I dont mind if my phone uses 32, 64 or 128 bits, or how old the kernel is, as long as it works as expected.
    It seems people losing track and only rely on tech specs as dictated by hardware vendors, and not on services and user experience. Hardware is/will be commodity, and you are only consuming services/software in the end.
    That said, I miss VPN and S/MIME mails most, no matter how many bits or cores they are realized on.
  • Hmmm...i've been attaching files to replies from day one on my Lumia. What am I not understanding?
  • You might be attaching pictures to replies. This is what I understand.
  • You most certainly can send office documents:
    In Office (e.g. Excel) on WP click ... and share, choose your email and you are sending the xls-file.
    If you send from Skydrive app, you'll be sending a link to your Skydrive folder.
    The email support is not as good as it should, though. We are all used to sending files from Outlook on PCs. WP works more like how iPhone does it, sort of, no central file management, do everything to files in the app it was created with.
  • You have never attached a document to a reply.
  • It can be done rather simply, in most cases (sending a file in an email reply), but I agree it should be more intuitive and flexible. MS de-emphasizes using the phone for storage. That's what SkyDrive is for. So after you hit reply on an email, just open the skydrive app, choose your file, hit share, and choose the option to copy the share-link to the clipboard, then switch apps back to the email and paste it. This relies on having it in skydrive to begin with, but besides office docs optionally, I can't think of much that really sits on the phone itself that wouldn't be just a matter of linking.
  • A rare use case scenario it may be but MS addressed it for iOS and Android users before WP. I wonder what keeps idiots like me still use WP. The truth is, if GoPhone allowed tethering on iPhone 5S (I am able to use it on my 920 Developer ROM) I would skip my 920 in a heartbeat.
  • This is the exact justification Instagram, Facebook or Google (a company I hate with passion now) are using for nit making official apps for WP. If MS does not make official apps for their services on WP, why should they?
  • Its not the same reason at all.
  • More like they block and ban ms from making there own apps when said a holes won't develop apps for WP. Who gives a shit my 1020 does everything I need
  • It would be because they purchased the iOS and Android code from another company, and released it, while they work on WP8 version from scratch.
     
    This was aimed at making sure all iOS TABLETS and Android TABLETS (which use the same OS as their respective phones), had access to remote desktop (Windows 8).  That said, the Win 8 Tablets and Win RT tablets have their remote desktop apps already.
     
    Theoretically, they could have purchased the company, and removed the apps from the iOS and Android store, and waited until the Windows Phone 8 app was complete (let's estimate a couple of months), and then put all the apps up at the same time...but since the purpose is to get more Windows 8 and desktop/laptop exposure, that would be a horrible idea.
     
  • Wow... A thought out, argumented response l. I thought this was the internet!
  • Normally I get upset when ms does things like this, but the reasons cbshd presents make this more understandable. MS once again needs to do better in communicating clearly.
  • That was a lame statement they made. Microsoft had an RDP client back in 2009. It came in handy for me several times.
  • They did the same thing with Photosynth; that took over a year before Windows Phone got it...i bet this will be the same time frame =(
  • Not the same at all.
  • How is not the same, Photosynth a Microsoft product was on iOS before WP
  • Because that was an app aimed at smartphones, this is an app aimed at tablets.
  • I use splashtop. Would definitely love to get one from Microsoft
  • For real! Priorities boys!!
  • I agree BUT where is the marketshare at? Android and iOS by far outnumber Windows Phone. We may disagree but it's smart business to go for the biggest number of people first.
  • Not if you're trying to build your own in house OS market share.
  • But in the desktop OS world Microsoft rules. The RDP app I understand why the iOS and Android versions came first, because iOS and Androi rule mobile OS and Microsoft is giving them a way to get into their computer. I think the RDP app is more directed at the business world, the business world runs on Windows OS and Android or iOS for mobile so it makes business sense to go that direction first. 
    Now an app like Skype for example I don't understand why Microsoft is completely leaving it behind in WP. It's widely used across all platforms including businesses so leaving big things out isn't helping grow market share. 
  • And at least for people in IT where I'd use I most... We need VPN support!!!!!! Hehe sorry for excited. I know they announced VPN but really it should be there already. Can't wait.
  • Microsoft has this thing, called a loaded gun. Which they enjoy using just about everyday to shoot themselves in the foot. You think by now they would of learned. But no way, tomorrow they'll just do it again. Bang! Damn Yee Microsoft!
  • In the meantime, you could use Teamviewer.
  • I couldn't get team viewer to work with the partner thing, any pointers?
  • Try Splashtop.
  • PC remote pro > splashtop/teamviewer.
    Alongside remote desktop, it has integrated remote functions that are more conducive when watching movies etc.
  • Teamviewer is great, but it requires you to install an agent, and reminds you that it is free every time you log in to a machine. Remote desktop would be preferred.
  • Team viewer wasn't working with my server 2012 OS (from home)
  • Incorrect. It leaves a message regarding the free session you've enjoyed as a home user. THEN the next time you login to that box and too haven't already closed the message it appears.
  • There is a remote desktop app in the store made by topperware. Its actually quite good.
  • Ridiuclous, embarassing for Windows Phone. If Microsoft can't even give it apps at the same time or earlier than other platforms, then how can we expect developers to do it?
  • Exactly. How can they ask ANY developer to do it when MS won't even do it?
  • +1
  • I told Ben the PC guy what kind of message this sends to WP users
  • True❕
  • Ridiculous that no one seems to understand that this app is directed to tablets and not phones... which is why it's not immediately available for WP.
    It just so happens that iOS & Android apps work on both their phones and tablets.
  • It works on phones. iPhones and Android phones have official remote desktop app before WP8. This is not first time MS doing this kind of things.
  • Wow.
  • Keep trying...
  • Nah, I give up.
    There is something to complain about, unfortunately most here are confused about what that is.
  • Pmsl
  • Its really easy for you to just say that... =/
  • What idiotic company makes the app first for ios and android. It should have been made for WP8 first and then filter through to the others about 3-6months later.
  • Yeah releasing a program to phones that have more users is a terrible idea. They should be focusing on the minority group. Then they can get less downloads yay!
  • No, they should release them all at the same time. There is no urgency to get this app to market. It does however make their own OS a second class citizen. Never a wise business move.
  • Yeah, and the excuse is contradicting, and hypocritical.. If not to many people use these kinds of services on smartphones, then what was the rush to get it to market before WP❔.. Is the WP app supposed to be better❔
  • The "excuse" isn't contradicting or hypocritical at all. The app is made with tablets in mind.
  • Right.. Understood..
  • Lol, how many times are you planning on saying this, that its meant for phones that is?
  • That's funny, I hear iPhones run it just fine.
  • Well, it is important enough for MS to still be working on a app for WP,, so why are we arguing this❔
  • Probably because they have a unified store.
  • Why is this point so important to you. The reality is that it is being run on phones and the media reports that it us available for other phones, but not WP. Translation for consumers who don't read this repeated rationalization? Buy iPhone or Android if you want the most 3rd party apps and Microsoft's apps first, too. No, they don't get a pass on thus technicality. It's piss poor marketing and communication, at the very least.
  • Yeah, even IRONIC! that it would not be available for WP! a MS OS. When I read about this, I felt :(
  • Just because your neighbor has more kids than you doesn't mean you feed them first! You feed your family first then if there's any left then you offer
  • Lol what?!
  • Windows phone is Ms family android and IOS isn't! You take care of family first(wp8) then the other os
  • Lol what?!
  • DAT logic lol
  • Yeah, because app download counts is Microsoft's big issue.  Not market share where maybe having unique apps or at a minimum the same apps, might eliminate excuses for people to pass on your product.  Yep, you nailed it.  /s 
  • "What kind of company...?"
    ...
    Probably a company that is looking to make their app available to all tablets; Windows 8, Android and iOS.
    Of anyone actually listened to the response by Microsoft, you would see that phones are not their concern with this app.
    Now, if the stores were unified and apps were cross platform on WP, there wouldn't be this problem
    Look past your noses people.
  • Doesnt matter if target audience is tablet users, if they run fine on the phones as well then it should have come to WP as well and BTW going by your logic then MS shouldn't bring this to WP at all because target is not phone users, only tablet users so why bother with a phone app?
    they should have released it with IOS/Android or not released at all if only intended audience was indeed "tablet" users
  • Ppl forget Microsoft is predominantly a software company and thus makes software for all hardware especially where the money and majority are.
  • When they're trying to push a new platform of their own, they should prioritize.
  • I believe they have apps out for win8 already. So hopefully WP isn't too far behind.
  • How much longer will they keep doing this? This is ridiculous.
  • It really is. Agree 100%.
  • +920
  • Hard to believe, especially when they want Windows Phone to be seen as an enterprise / business-friendly OS
  • As long as you keep asking rhetorical questions? =P
  • Every Microsoft app should be on Windows Phone first. It doesn't show much confidence in your own platform to lead with your competition's platforms. Just give the iPhone and Android fanboys more ammo MS!
  • My point exactly and they wonder why its so hard for Devs to adapt to there OS, been using windows phone since it was win mobile 5 and from then MS never seem to care much about making apps.
  • Pathetic on MS's part. They seriously need to get there stuff together. Google doesn't release stuff on other platforms first neither does Apple. MS should either release it on windows first or at the same time as the rest or not launch it at all. This should be for every app they make. (or product)
  • Google release an updated Google Voice with calling to iOS first just recently...
  • That's besides the point❕...
  • Lol OK...
  • Sounds like you mother right.. Lol❕
  • I have no idea what you just implied.
  • I'm not implying anything.. I'm saying that "that's besides the point" sounds like something somebody's mom would say... Lol❕
  • Ah. Lol ok. My bad. Misread
  • The only person whose mother I talk about, intentionally, is NIST... Lol❕
  • The app was made available on Windows 8... so...
  • Then weres the easy port to wp8? So they could have it available on all hardware? Would solve a ton of consumer back lash.
  • Easy port? LOL... no.
  • They themselves say its easy and quick to port to WP. So..
  • So... they are lying.
  • Apparently so.
  • Actually... Google, frequently has better apps, better looking ones, sometimes with more features on iOS. It used to get me upset. So... yeah, I don't like the MS version of this behavior.
  • According to Engadget, they bought the iOS and Android apps from another company, so they were effectively rebranded and shipped, hence why there's no WP version yet.
  • Did they run out of money and could not buy one for WP? There are companies that have RemoteDesktop clients for WP, Why did they not buy it from ConnectMe as an example?
  • Two reasons, I suspect: A) probably because the same company (HLW) made a client for both of the other platforms and they appear to be the most full-featured and robust implementations of RDP. B) RT has native RDP and remote usage is probably more on tabs vs phones. This means now five of six bases are covered: Windows, Android and iOS tabs and Android and iOS phones. It sucks, but fortunately there's ConnectMe for the Windows Phone use case.
  • Sorry but it really is stupid they don't have their own rdp client ready. I mean its their own product that's built in to windows. And then they wonder about the enterprise market. Its crazy how disconnected they are with the real customer demands out there.
  • That's the crux of it though.  If W8 RT has a native, metro-ized RDP client, then porting to WP8 is simply a recompile & bug/QC check.  That's MS's own marketing about the "power" of the RT APIs, and W8 common kernel.  So...MS developers don't know how to recompile W8 RT apps for WP8?  I understand it's not a single day/single week turnaround type app, but it presents a terrible image to release an iOS/Android client without a WP8 client alongside.  Then the response - "we're working on it" is company speak for "we dropped the ball and we don't know when".  If it is/was planned for the WP8.1 rollout, then say so.  "We're working on it" means they forgot to even put it on the development timeline.  Every company makes mistakes, but MS really needs to get their development & WP messaging in sync.     
  • Also, where is my Xbox Video app for WP8!
  • Regardless, they should have completed the WP app before releasing all three together. Its not the motive, its the image
  • Yes Microsoft, you did buy a company that already had remote desktop apps for Android and iOS in the works. 
    Yes Microsoft, you could have delayed releasing the other two apps, until you've finished one for WP, because, maybe, just maybe, if you leave your platform behind, why would others care for it ? 
  • Good job MS! This is why won't upgrade to WP8. Im Sticking to WP7, and maybe getting Android phone next. But my tablet and desktop will always be Windows. :) They should have wait until the WP app was done before releasing to other platforms.
  • Why? So that no one with a iPad or Droid tablets could use it?
    The app is made for those companies tablets, not specifically for their phones. Just so happens that they have cross platform play, whereas Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 does not.
  • I will wait till MS combines WP and Windows Store, until then no WP8 for me.
  • Wow, you are so smart...that'll show them! =/
  • Thanks.
    I don't see it as being exceptionally smart myself, but rather others here that can't see the obvious.
  • Actually the obvious is that it doesn't make sense for MS to release a remote desktop app since you can't VPN from WP. Are business users actually going to remote desktop while at the office on wireless when they have a laptop? The only use for remote desktop is when you are away from the office or your laptop which would require VPN.
  • Not every company uses VPN.
    Why everyone here is not able to imagine that the world may be different from the one he's living?
  • They should make a different version control the phone from pc like my mobiler for wm
  • From the Engadget article on this topic: "Microsoft got a head start on developing for Android and iOS by acquiring technology from HLW Software, which produced Remote Desktop equivalents until this month; there's no such luxury for Windows Phone."
  • Search for Remote Desktop in windows phone store, there's ConnectMe and a few others. I am sure they could have been bought too if MS really wanted to have it out at the same time as iOS and Android.
  • Exactly, I knew there were other remote desktop apps in the store as well. What's everyone freaking out about?
  • We got angry birds star wars 2 first that's why we get this app last.
  • Remote desktop isn't that useful for me as long as there is no VPN support on Windows Phone. My guess is they are hoping to have that VPN in 8.1 which will make RDP much more practical. Until then, Teamviewer and others are good options. Hoping LogMeIn supports new Windows OS's soon also.
  • Microsoft tells its customers to write apps for Windows 8/RT then re use that code and port to Windows Phone 8, or vice-versa. The remote desktop app for Windows RT has been out for a year, they should have ported it to Windows Phone 8.
  • THIS! They claim "build to RT and porting to mobile is easy\few changes". Actions speak way louder than words and marketing throwing money at people will only work so much. Hopefully they fix this mess.
  • +925 About the only time it is useful for me to remote in is when I'm out and about, which means going through a secure channel. Unfortunately, my employer uses BigIP, which apparently requires its own proprietary VPN client, either by design or our particular configuration.
  • A lot of companies now (including ours) use Remote Gateway servers with SSL certificates that get around having to use VPN but still have secure RDP access. In fact, Microsoft highly encourages use of remote gateway for RDP access. So your VPN argument does not hold true.
  • It does hold true, I'm willing to bet there are more companies that use VPN then there are using Remote Gateway Servers.
  • Pretty resounding sentiments here. Not much more to say...except this is one more gap they ignored from windows mobile days.
  • Alternatively, use TeamViewer, everyone. I have been using it for months, and it has been superb!
  • Yep! Team Viewer works just fine.
  • Splashtop personal is also really good❕
  • Or PC Remote Pro In fact, just search for remote in the store...
  • Splashtop is great indeed!
  • 1. not many will remote their computer from a phone.
    2. if you need to there are OTHER alternatives in the store, Teamviewer is so hard to install these days?
    3. this is more meant to be for a tablet BUT its obvious developing for ipad and android tablets mean they practically already have the app to be released also for android phones and iphones. you know, it seems some people have a hard time understanding this....?
    because WINDOWS PHONE and WINDOWS 8/RT are TWO DIFFERENT operating systems, if windows phone and windows 8/rt were already merged like its planned for the next releases... it would be a different story. but today, they are 2 differnt OSs with different ways of developing apps, because while it has some apis and stuff from winrt, still its not like close to what iOS and android offer. 
    4. again, there are other alternatives, its not like RDP its the best thing in alot of cases anyway... im sure teamviewer is much better for alot of things. but it seems people dont even try to use their brain anymore, they are only here to complain about something they probably will not even use.
  • Ms makes a sweet app for IOS and google first? And mean while we have the shityest you tube app in the world! Even the dying bb has a better app! But according to sum herein wpcentral that's ok..wow!how is this normal business? I'll make you something sweet while you make me something absolutely horrible... And laugh about it! Damn it Ms why do we see this and Ms doesn't
  • You have no idea what you're talking about if you think MS made a shitty YT app on purpose.
  • But they could have gotten back at Google to make sure there is no official RemoteDesktop client in Google Play Store but instead they put one out for Android and ignore WP yet again.
  • I didn't say Ms made the app but the did allow it to be the way it is horrible mean while im sure theres not a single bad Ms app on either android or IOS !
  • Why its own OS it wasn't first?
  • It was.
    Windows 8 got the app first.
    What's being ignored is that the app is made for tablets, not phones specifically.
    So, the real reason it's not available for WP is because the stores are not unified and cross platform unity is lacking.
  • This app is available on Windows 8, IOS and Android which are all tablet OSes. I would blame Microsoft a little bit less if I found out its a IPad or tablet only app. Shouldn't porting the Win 8 version make it easier?
  • That's a fair point, but the optics are still horrid.
  • Reason?!?
    That's blasphemous here.
  • How do they expect other developers to give a damn about WP8 if they don't?
  • Remember when you asked yourself why didn't Google and Instagram cared about Windows Phone? Here's your answer.
    When Microsoft is more concerned about releasing Apps for other OS's instead of theirs...why the hell should other developers care about WP?
    More and more I'm convinced Microsoft doesn't take WP seriously. It's just a vanity project of theirs.
  • I believe you are misguided.
    This app was made available for Android and iOS for one reason... TABLETS, not their phones - and since the app is available for Windows 8 tablets, nothing skipped or looked over.
    The real problem is the lack of cross platform apps and the stores not being unified.
    As addressed in Microsoft's response, remote desktop use with phones is very niche.
    Of course, it's much easier for everyone to blame MS and assume that WP is getting screwed, rather than looking past your nose and look for real reasoning.
  • It is a gap regardless of technical reasons. We lost a lot from WM to WP. Can I live without it? Yes and have been. But if their was a MS app I'd use it. Not interested in the 3rd party ones.
  • Maybe, but doesn't mean that the blame shouldn't be rightly placed.
  • Uh...no I'm not. I know perfectly well why they did this. Still, it's no excuse.
    I don't need a remote desktop, neither on tablets nor smartphones. It's the principle of the thing. Why should they bother to release apps for Android/iOS phones/tablets when they don't offer the same on their own OS? If they want their OS to be taken seriously, they should be more concerned in only bringing stuff to other platforms after all is available on theirs.
    Also...whose is the fault that Microsoft'