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Splashtop releases virtual Windows 8 environment for Android tablets

Want to try out Windows 8's Metro interface, without having to ditch your Android tablet? Now you can. Remote desktop vendor Splashtop announced Wednesday that it would add Android support to its Windows 8 Metro testbed product, which allows users to simulate a Metro tablet environment.

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Previously available only on the iPad, the app can now be used on tablets running Android 3.1 or later, with either 7- or 10-inch screens and an ideal display resolution of 1280x800. Users purchase the app on the tablet, install the free client program on a PC, and link the devices using remote desktop.

The virtual Windows 8 desktop is mostly aimed at developers who want to see how their software will work on a real tablet - testing touch gestures like swiping from the right to bring up the "charms" menu and swiping through pages in Internet Explorer in a functionally identical environment to the one that will be provided by eventual Windows 8 native devices. Apps can be run on tablets while being tinkered with and compiled on a Windows PC.

Splashtop co-founder and CEO Mark Lee said that high community demand for Android support prompted the company to make the addition.

Splashtop also noted that the product has sold briskly in the App Store since its release in April, becoming the top-grossing "utilities" app in 72 countries, though that likely has something to do with its comparatively high price point of $50.

The app's price on the recently rebranded Google Play Store http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/030612-google-play-257001.html will also be $50, though, as part of the Android launch, it's temporarily available for $25 on both platforms.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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