You just left work and realized that you forgot to send that e-mail you spent 45 minutes composing. PCMobilizr will let you take care of that (and a lot more) from your phone, so you don’t have to drag out your laptop or trek back to your desk. While software such as GoToMyPC offers full remote access to other computers, it isn’t designed for mobile devices yet. Other software, such as Soonr, gives you remote access to your files but not in a form where you can actually view the desktop environment. PCMobilizr (pictured here with screenshots taken on the Blackberry Pearl 8130) tries to offer the best of both worlds, but its lengthy wait times make it best suited for desperate and file-hungry road warriors.
Setup and Installation
PCMobilizr, which requires a Windows XP or Vista PC and a Windows Mobile or Blackberry 8xxx phone, is currently available for $9.50 per month or $95 per year; we downloaded the 30-day free trial to our PC and two phones to give it a whirl. We used a BlackBerry Pearl 8130 on Verizon Wireless’ 1x EV-DO connection and an HTC Mogul running Windows Mobile 6 Professional on Sprint’s EV-DO Rev. A network, and in both cases we were up and running in five minutes.
After launching PCMobilizr on our phone, we were able to connect to our computer in a few seconds; seeing our entire desktop on a phone was impressive. We like that with both our test smart phones, PCMobilizr used the whole screen so that we could view more of our PC. We moved the cursor around the screen and selected items on the desktop using our BlackBerry’s trackball; you can also use a directional pad or a touchscreen depending on the device you own.
Using the software, we opened a Word file in just 15 seconds over Verizon’s EV-DO network. On Sprint’s faster Rev. A network, the same task took just 7 seconds. We found that making small edits to Word and Excel files worked decently, but PCMobilizr is not efficient enough to work with large Excel sheets, or anything that requires a lot of scrolling. The screen is just too small. PCMobilizr tries to address this issue by adding a good zoom function, but navigating around a large display can be time consuming, even though the software refreshes each new screen in less than a second.
PCMobilizr ran best over Sprint’s high-speed network, and we recommend making sure you’re connected via 3G before logging on. Even so, load times were slow for big applications. For example, after opening Microsoft Outlook on our computer, we clicked on Inbox via PCMobilizr: The screen didn’t change for 54 seconds, and opening an e-mail took another minute. Without a 3G connection, this would have taken longer.
While having access to your entire desktop on a mobile phone is compelling on paper, PCMobilizr’s wait times are too long for our tastes. Other options will give you quicker access to your files, albeit not in a desktop view. If you need only to view files as read-only, we suggest Soonr, which took a minute to open a three-page document—but at least it’s free. Until PCMobilizr can cut down on the latency, we say save your $9.50 per month.