Every once in a while you just want to try something that you probably don't need, but can’t help but being impressed by the cool factor. That's pretty much the best way to explain the new Splashtop app for the iPad. When I heard about this from the homeservershow, there was a natural attraction and curiosity of what it would be like to run Windows 8 on a tablet. The concept of Windows 8 on an iPad almost caused my brain to explode. I immediately hit the app store and located the app so I could use it. I was a bit taken back by the price tag for pre-released software as it was on sale for $29.99, with a future price of $49.99. I thought it was a bit steep but considering that remote control apps are amongst the most expensive, I could not resist giving this a try. After all, this would be worth the $30 bucks to have a Win 8 tablet.
The first step is to download the streamer software. I ran into a self induced issue and I downloaded the version for windows 7 by accident. I clicked on the button not realizing there is a separate link under the button that takes you to a Window 8 specific version. Once I figured this out and got past that, things improved dramatically.
Once you install the steamer software you go through a simple configuration. Your GMAIL account actually provides the routing so port forwarding of your router or other complicated configuration is not required.
The streamer software
The iPad app
Once you install the iPad app, it immediately searches your network. If you signed in on your Window 8 machine with your GMAIL account, you can sign in on the iPad app and it will again find your system easily. The virtual keyboard is a bit small but it works very well and I love the idea that it has a numeric keypad.
I won’t get into all that Windows 8 can do but here are few shots right off my iPad of various screens as well as some of the apps . The navigation is very impressive and considering I was running Windows 8 from Hyper-V. The smoothness of the screen was very impressive. The iPad is actually a natural at running Window 8. I bet Apple enjoyed approving this app.
The main issue I ran into is periodic disconnects. Seamed to be more predominate on 3G/4G connection than when I was on a Wi-Fi, but annoying none the less. The other thing is they need to optimize it for outside network performance. The performance is very impressive when on your own network but when you are accessing it say through a mobile hotspot, the performance is not nearly as good and sometimes downright bad. Much worse than other remote control apps that I run such as LogMeIn.
In summary, this one of the coolest products I have seen in awhile. As a matter of fact, the iPad runs Windows 8 so well that you may forget you are on an iPad. The touch response is very impressive and far better that I had expected. I expected the clunky touch interface that I have seen on other remote apps, and was surprised how native it felt. The install and setup is as easy as you can get (once you have the right streamer software installed) and the configuration is very straightforward. Given the issues stated above, working off the fastest connection possible would be in your best interest. I really love this app and will definitely keep using it until the RTM version of Window 8 is released. One thing is for sure, that if this is an indication of what it will be like, the native tablets will be a must have when they come out.