There was a bit of controversy around the launcher of Splashtop 2, but aside from some questionable business practices, my first impressions with the new improved connection speed was good. I’ve had a bit of time to use it more since then, and I want to change that initial impressions. Splashtop 2 is really good.
Splashtop is, for those who don’t know, a service for connecting to your computer from your mobile device. There are tons of such services out there, but Splashtop has generally stood out in some way. It used to be cheap and good, then it was just good, and now it’s basically expensive but very good. Since the update to Splashtop 2, the over-the-web connections have been ridiculously fast – fast enough that I forget I’m using a remote controlled computer when I’m using my home computer from school. I’ve had a Windows based UMPC and some rather slow netbooks in the past, and the latency I get with using my home computer remotely is less of an issue than the lag caused by that slow hardware was.
The result is that I now basically have Windows 7 as an app on my iPad. By storing files in Dropbox and by having a fast internet connection in both ends, I can work with documents remotely and transfer them between the two devices as needed. Today I scanned some documents at school, uploaded those to my Dropbox, then merged them with a 600MB master PDF file I have using a PDF program I have on my computer. I saved it back to Dropbox, waited a few minutes for it to upload (yes, few minutes, I wasn’t kidding about the connection), and then hit sync in GoodReader on the iPad to sync the changes back into the app I use for reading. I’ve similarly used both photo and video editing software remotely, the kind of programs that you’d still want Windows for.
Despite the usefulness of having Windows accessible like this, I would never get a Windows tablet. The uses I have for Windows are the exceptions, not the rule. The things I use Windows for are the things you need processing power for, processing power that you can’t fit inside the shell of an iPad right now without sacrificing something. A thick, heavy, expensive, fan-dependent tablet is of no use to me, and never will be. iOS is better for mobile software than I think Windows RT will ever be, so having an iPad that can access a desktop computer over the web is the perfect solution for my situation. The increased performance of Splashtop 2 has only reinforced that belief.