What do you do when you need to access a file on a computer that’s thousands of miles away? You could call on someone closer to the computer’s location, ask them to make their way over to the computer, fill them in on any passwords protecting the computer or document, and request that they to send it to you… or you could leverage software that allows you to access your computer remotely, a concept being championed by Parallels Access and documented in this piece from Yahoo! Tech.
In 2013, Parallels Access released a solution that began to refine the remote access software category. However, the impact of this solution wasn’t felt nearly as much as it should have been, based largely on its pricing point. Learning from past marketing mistakes, Parallels Access is back with an improved solution and a better product rollout.
Where Parallels Access 1.0 would have run you $80/year for a subscription that allowed you to access just one computer, Parallels Access (PA) 2.0 has hit the market at $20/year for the right to access up to five computers. No longer just for iPads, PA 2.0 provides computer access right on your iPhone, Android phone, or Android tablet. There is no limit to the number of smart-devices that can access your five computers, which can be any combination of Macs or PCs.
PA 2.0 also provides users with an incredibly straightforward set-up. Once you’ve registered to use the service, you simply download a free app on each of the machines and devices for which you’ll be exchanging access. From there, you log-in and go. In making the app itself free-to-download, you can even access your computer(s) from someone else’s smart-devices, if the situation arises.
As neat and resourceful as it is to run Mac or PC programs and access a computer’s files from anywhere on-the-go, the system would fall painfully short if it expected users to be squinting at a shrunken-down computer screen as it appeared on a smartphone. Instead, PA 2.0 “appifies” computer programs so that they look and operate just like touchscreen mobile apps.
Just as mobile app testers optimize their applications for a device’s functionality and screen size, PA 2.0 arranges your computer programs so that they’ll operate more appropriately on a smart-device’s screen. The “appification” process also enables users to zoom in/out in most programs and use their fingers to click or right-click to highlight information, copy/paste text and media, and bring up a keyboard.
Although Parallels Access is not the only solution in the remote access software space, their latest release is looking to find market separation based very much on their usability and cross-platform migration of operations. PA 2.0 offers users a customizable computer launch screen to bring small-screen smart-device functionality as a way to access computer programs that is much easier than peering at a smaller Dock or Start menu that has been reduced according to-scale.
By accessing all of the information on your home computer the way that you’d go about accessing smart-device applications, Parallels Access seems to have raised the bar for remote access.