Anyone who is constantly on the go — IT pros and end users — appreciates the ability to remote into a desktop machine. There are plenty of tools to handle this task, including LogMeIn Ignition and various RDP clients. One of the tools I've grown accustomed to on the help desk side of things is TeamViewer, and their Android version is quite an outstanding addition to my line up of support tools. Why? Not only is the Android version of TeamViewer similar to that of the native desktop app, but it's also free and very simple to use.
Let's take a closer look at TeamViewer for Remote Control.
- Easy access to unattended computers (Windows, Mac, Linux)
- Multi-touch gesture support for: left click, right click, drag and drop, scroll wheel, zoom
- Complete keyboard control (including special keys, such as Ctrl, Alt, Windows)
- Meets 256-bit AES session encoding and 1024-bit RSA Key Exchange security
- Access computers behind firewalls and proxy servers
- Automatic quality adjustment
- Remotely reboot computers
- Overview of computers that are online
- Available for Android 1.6 and higher
As you would expect, the installation for TeamViewer on Android is quite simple. Just follow these steps:
- Open up Google Play
- Search for TeamViewer
- Select TeamViewer for Remote Control, and tap Download
- Tap Accept & download
That's it. Once it's installed, you'll either find an icon for the app on your home screen and/or in your Application Drawer. Open it up, and you'll be ready to go.
If you've never used TeamViewer before, here's how it works:
- The desktop you want to connect to must have TeamViewer installed or go to the TeamViewer web site and click the download button
- The other party must run the software — they'll get a nine-digit ID number and a password
- Once you have their ID and password, you enter it in the credentials window to connect to the user's machine
This is pretty much the exact method used for the Android version of TeamViewer. Due to the nature of tablets, the interaction with the remote PC is different than it would be with PC-to-PC use. Since there is no mouse, you must rely on gestures for certain actions. These are the gestures and what they do:
- Move mouse: Drag with single finger
- Left mouse click: Single-finger tap
- Right mouse click: Two-finger tap
- Drag desktop item: Double-tap, hold, and drag
- Zoom: Pinch gesture
- Scroll: Two-fingers up and down
The credentials necessary are for the remote machine.
If you know you're going to be using TeamViewer quite a bit, I highly recommend that you sign up for an account. By doing this (and subsequently logging into that account by tapping on the Partner list tab in the login screen), your history will be retained and any saved partners you have will be more easily accessed.
To add an account to your Partner list, do the following:
- Tap on the Partner list tab (Figure B)
- Log in to your TeamViewer account
- Connect to the remote machine you want to add
- Disconnect from the machine you want to add
- Tap on the History tab
- Tap on the ID of the machine you just connected to
- Enter an Alias and the TeamViewer password for that remote connection
- Tap Add Partner
Here you see an Xubuntu machine listed as online.
You now have two ways of quickly accessing partners — History and Partner list.Once you've logged in, you'll be presented with the remote desktop (Figure C). Figure C
A remote desktop used on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab works smoothly.I've found the Verizon 4G LTE fairly solid for remote connections. It's not as fast as being on a wireless network, but when you have no other option, it works quite well. If you find your connection speed slow, you can go in to the options (Figure D) and set the Quality down, as well as Remove wallpaper from the remote machine. Figure D
The TeamViewer settings are all fairly straightforward.Of course, there will be times when you need to send a special key combination, such as a Windows key, Control key, Alt key, function keys, etc. To access these, tap the keyboard icon in the bottom toolbar. This will open the Android keyboard and a new toolbar at the top of the screen. At the far right of that toolbar is a keyboard icon with a "+" symbol. Tap that "+" symbol to open up the Function keypad (Figure E). Figure E
Tap the "-" symbol in the upper left corner to hide this keypad.
If you're looking for an outstanding solution to help you do remote support (or just to access your machine at home) from your Android tablet, TeamViewer for Remote Control might be an ideal choice. It's fast, easy to use, and won't break your budget.
What tool(s) do you use for remote support on your tablet? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.