Tablets have a lot of uses, some less productive than others. One of my favorite uses is to remote control my PC from my iPad 2/mini, and with Splashtop 2, it’s fairly fast over a decent connection. Similar technology does however have other uses. I’ve used VNC to connect my phone to a VGA projector through the iPad, I’ve used Splashtop to stream video, , and I’ve used XDisplay to get an extra monitor.

Today, I was at school working on a group assignment, and we ended up sitting in a booth in the cafeteria. That left two of us staring at the back of the laptop of the person doing the actual editing, which left us clueless of what was going on. We’ve used Google Docs to be able to work on the same document up until now, but needed to get it over in a proper document editor for the final formatting. Luckily, the solution was in my hands: my iPad mini. I downloaded Teamviewer on the computer, ran it without installing it, and connected to it from the iPad app on my mini. Suddenly, we had a 8-inch wireless mirrored display for a laptop sitting in a school cafeteria.

We worked like that for about four hours, taking turns editing and viewing. It worked flawlessly, and stayed connected the entire time. Teamviewer is quickly catching up to Splashtop as far as speed and stability goes, and it has some very nice features that Splashtop lacks. First off, it’s free for non-commercial use. The streamer program can also be run without being permanently installed, and the system is designed for remote controlling or viewing other people’s computers, whereas Splashtop is more for your own computers. You can now switch between touch and mouse input in Teamviewer, as well as select the computer’s resolution. We ran it using the laptop’s native resolution rather than the iPad, so that the better picture would be on the actual PC.

Between how flawlessly this worked and Teamviewer’s new Android app, I’m leaning towards giving it a shot at replacing Splashtop for me. One nice bonus is Teamviewer’s business mode. Non-commercial use is completely free, while commercial use costs money. Get users hooked on the service at home, and they’ll want it at work too. Splashtop, on the other hand, started out as a cheap iPad app that mostly sold because it was so cheap, and then turned that success into a way of milking money from users by increasing prices, introducing subscription models, and splitting functionality that most companies would put in a single app into a whole range of individual apps.

Either way, I think that this use of a tablet should be highlighted. If you always have your tablet (or high resolution smartphone) with you, you essentially also have a wireless monitor that you can get set up with any PC in minutes.