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CONFIRMED: Remote Desktop isn't a Windows Mobile 6 Application by default anymore
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 01.08.07 - 15:37:53 CET under 02 - Windows Mobile News - Viewed 65266x
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With the introduction of Windows Mobile 6, we have seen many feature improvements, including HTML E-Mail, a way better Calendar plus many "under-the-hood" enhancements. And yes, one application which also gets some serious improvements is the Remote Desktop application (formerly known as Terminal Service Client).
When I got my first Windows Mobile Pocket PC back in 2001, I hadn't had an idea, what Terminal Service Client was about but now, where the::unwired is running on Windows servers (for some years), where I have 3 PCs in the office and two at home I know what it is and how much I like it.

Therefore I was pretty impressed when I saw the first Windows Mobile 6 Beta which included an updated version of Remote Desktop. At that time, I was running the Beta on VGA screen Pocket PC Phone Edition and the latest version allows to use it in fullscreen mode. No more bars on top and bottom which makes using it a pleasure.

Now I've received a good amount of question via E-Mail from Windows Mobile 6 Professional users (as well as I've seen this question numerous times in the newsgroups) asking where the Remote Desktop application is on their device. A question I've asked myself as well when I've recently tested the Glofiish X500+, the Toshiba G900 and an upgraded O2 Xda trion. Not a single sign of Remote Desktop, neither as a shortcut in the Start menu nor as a "hidden" application in the Windows folder. Therefore I've recently asked Microsoft for a statement what went wrong with Remote Desktop for Windows Mobile 6.

Basically nothing went wrong except one thing - Remote Desktop now is an optional feature for carriers and ODMs. You have to know that some applications on Windows Mobile devices are mandatory, others are optional. For instance Internet Explorer Mobile and Outlook Mobile are mandatory while Windows Live (or MSN Messenger before) are optional and Microsoft also made the Remote Desktop an optional application for Windows Mobile 6 devices now (before it was mandatory for Pocket PCs and Pocket PC Phone Editions while it was never available for Smartphones anyway). And no question, this makes absolutely sense for mass-market consumer devices since most consumers have no use for Remote Desktop and taking it out of the ROM saves space which can be used for other applications as well as it's not irritating users. I have to admit, that in the very beginning I also deleted the shortcut from my Start menu since I hadn't had a use for it. Something which changed only later.
However, unfortunately many responsible product managers at carriers (today more or less the main customers of ODMs) never differentiated about consumer, prosumer and professional devices. A missing application which might not hurt a consumers too much might be important for professionals but if you have never used Remote Desktop for yourself, you might haven't seen the value of it. Therefore it was, because it's an optional component only which the ODM has to add proactively, simply - more or less - forgotten. Again, it's not Microsoft's fault since Microsoft is still offering (an even improved) Remote Desktop Mobile to all its manufactures, it's just not added by any manufacture yet (except some vertical device manufactures - maybe).
This means, as hard as it sounds, that you cannot get a (single) Windows Mobile 6 Classic or Professional device today which has Remote Desktop!

Again, it's not affecting let's say 95 % of the readers of the::unwired. However, if you are a professional, administrating Windows Servers and you did this in the past with you pre-Windows Mobile 6 devices, better don't upgrade to a Windows Mobile 6 device yet. If you do, your only option is (the more insecure) VNC to get remote access to your PCs and servers. At the moment, Remote Desktop Client for Windows Mobile 6 isn't available as a separate download, unfortunately.

Last but not least the good news: Microsoft is fully aware of this situation and is currently working on a "fix". According to Microsoft it's too early to talk about what the fix could be but the Windows Mobile team has this problem in mind as well.

Cheers ~ Arne


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