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Toshiba software lets mobiles control PCs

Do email and edit documents on your desktop, on your phone

Toshiba has developed software to remotely operate a PC using a mobile phone over a cellular network. The software will be available in Japan, in cooperation with one of Japan's cellular networks in late March, a Toshiba executive said in a press conference today.

The software, called Ubiquitous Viewer, is installed on the mobile phone and on a client computer running Windows. The software recreates the desktop of a PC or notebook PC on the mobile phone's screen, allowing the user to complete tasks such as reading e-mails and editing documents on the PC via the phone, said Mitsunobu Aoyama, director of Toshiba's software engineering centre.

The Ubiquitous Viewer software can remotely switch on PCs that support the Wake-On-Lan function, a common feature that enables a PC to be switched on when traffic is sent to it across a network.

The mobile phone's key pad is automatically set by the software so that it becomes a virtual QWERTY keyboard. The mobile phone's cursor pad can mimic the functions of a mouse, and the 1-9 keys can become shortcut, enter, delete, tab and other types of keys found on QWERTY keyboards. Users can also create their own shortcuts and settings.

Since PC and notebook PC screens typically have XGA resolution (1024x768 pixels), the software captures a portion of the screen and displays this on the mobile phone screen. The virtual screen on the mobile phone can be moved in real time by the user across the virtual desktop, Shimizu said. An algorithm compresses by 97 percent the amount of screen data on the portion of the XGA screen to avoid overloading the wireless network as the information is passed to the mobile phone. The screen is recreated on the mobile phone in QVGA resolution (240x320 pixels), he said.

At the moment, the software can be used over a Bluetooth short-range wireless connection, or with KDDI Corp.'s 3G (third-generation) CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) 2000 1XEvDO (evolution data only) network with mobile phones that use Brew (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) software. The 3G network offers a maximum speed of 2.4M bps (bits per second).

Toshiba is aiming the software at corporate users. It did not give a price, or mention plans to sell the software internationally.

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