Where Windows Phone users are concerned, one of the great mysteries of the universe has been why Microsoft chose to release Remote Desktop apps for nearly every mobile platform but its own - a wrong the company is finally making right.

Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services Blog announced the release of a Remote Desktop Preview app for Windows Phone 8.1, which developers and early adopters can now download free from the Windows Phone Store.

Previously available for Windows 8.1, Mac OS X, iOS and Android, Remote Desktop offers exactly what it sounds like: The ability to remotely control Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2003) or later personal computers from other desktops, smartphones and tablets using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

The preview app for Windows Phone 8.1 updates RDP with what Redmond calls "best of class performance and security" for a "rich multi-touch experience" that also supports RemoteFX for optimized, high quality graphics and sound.

Making the connection

Remote Desktop's Connection Center is the heart of the app, where users add, edit or delete connections and have the option to save credentials to expedite future logins, particularly handy when adding a second desktop with the same information.

The preview app has been designed to work best with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 thanks to the default Touch interaction, which allows up to 10 contact points to be sent to the remote desktop - probably more fingers than most of us can even fit on a Windows Phone 8.1 handset.

For those running Windows 7 or earlier, Remote Desktop intelligently defaults to Mouse Pointer interaction, with the entire smartphone display becoming a virtual touchpad for zooming in or out by pinching or controlling the on-screen cursor.

Needless to say, Windows Phone 8 smartphone owners first need to install the recently released Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview, at which point the Remote Desktop Preview app is just a download away.

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