Parallels remote desktop app arrives on Android and iPhone
The Parallels Access app, which lets you log into your PC or Mac remotely, was previously only available on iPad.
The company's mobile software, which is dubbed Parallels Access, was previously only available to iPad owners, but the 2.0 update makes that app more broadly available. The Access app uses an Internet connection to let you get at your home computer's software on a mobile device, letting you do things like -- for instance -- edit a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet from your Android tablet.
To use the new version, which is now live on iTunes and Google Play, you'll need an iPhone 4S or a more recent iPhone, and you must be running iOS 7. As for Android, Parallels claims that "most tablets and phones running Android 4.0 and later" will be supported. Your computer will also need to be either running Windows 7 or a more recent version of Windows, or Mac OS X Lion (10.7) or a more recent version of Mac OS X.
The bad news is that Parallels isn't free. While there's a two-week free trial, subscriptions will cost you $20 in the US, £14 in the UK and AU$25 in Australia for one year, and $35, £24 or AU$38 for two years. To lure new subscribers, those who sign up to Parallels Access before 30 June can get a two-year subscription for $30 (roughly £21 or AU$32). These subscriptions let you access up to five remote computers from an unlimited number of Android and iOS devices.
In last year's CNET review, my colleague Jason Parker awarded Parallels Access for iPad four stars, praising the clean and simple touch-friendly interface, but noting that there is a slight delay between touching a button and the reaction.
Parallels has plenty of competition when it comes to remote access on smartphones, from services such as LogMeIn or GoToMyPC, as well as from Microsoft, which offers its own Remote Desktop app for connecting to a PC from iOS or Android. There are also a few free alternatives for those of you who don't like the thought of paying for remote access to your PC.