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Review, benchmark & comparison: remote controller / presentation suite REDFLY Mobile Viewer


Guest Menneisyys
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Guest Menneisyys

[teaser]

rmv.png
It was just a few days ago that Celio Corp, manufacturer of the two (C8N and C7) REDFLY Mobile Companions, have released their own REDFLY Mobile Viewer application, which runs on traditional PC’s (as opposed to the netbook-alike Mobile Companions). (There is a comparison of these three products HERE.)

It, at the first glance, is pretty similar to the well-established phone controller applications already available on Windows Mobile: SOTI’s Pocket Controller, MyMobiler, VirtualCE and so on. (See my last roundup of them HERE) However, there’s a major difference between it and any other, previous phone controller solutions: it’s able to show the contents of the phone’s screen in resolutions up to SVGA (800*600) or XGA (1024*768) on phones with less and equal/more than 128 Mbytes of built-in RAM, respectively.

This means if you have a QVGA (320*240) phone, you can still enjoy using (most of) its applications (and even some games) in either SVGA or XGA resolution, depending on whether it has 64 Mbytes of RAM built-in, or more. On top of this, it has excellent screen redraw efficiency and very low CPU utilization – the latter is very hard to measure even on slower models.

This, basically, offers the same possibilities as either a built-in, digital VGA output (like that of the Dell Axim x50v/x51v or the i-mate 6150/8150). Note that these shouldn’t be mistaken for analogue TV output found in, for example, the i-mate 8502/9502 – the latter has far worse quality and, for “real” presentations (unless it’s a showing lower-res videos only), pretty much useless resolution. Several Symbian S60 phones like the Nokia N95, N82 etc. also have analogue TV output only. (See THIS for more info on these questions.) Also note that the VGA output speed will still be much lower than that of phones or PDA’s with built-in video output circuitry: they, in general, are capable to provide 100% speed when driving an external monitor (even the Dell Axim x50v/x51v, at XGA resolution, with disabled internal screen). An external, software-based solution will have much lower speeds – that is, you won’t for example want to demo the video playback or fast-paced action gaming capabilities of your phone using REDFLY Mobile Viewer. Nevertheless, REDFLY Mobile Viewer is still one of the fastest screen displayer applications – in some tests, it has turned out to be even faster than SOTI’s Pocket Controller, the so far, best application in this respect.[/teaser]

Installation

Get both the desktop EXE (REDFLYMobileViewer.exe) and the CAB file from http://www.celiocorp.com/viewer. These must be separately downloaded and require receiving two e-mails with the download links. Note that this is a 60-day trial version.

There are four different client CAB’s available: RFS5*.CAB, RFS6*.CAB, RFP5*.CAB or RFP6*.CAB. It’s pretty easy to find out which is which. After the leading “RF”, the next letter (either S or P) shows whether it’s a phone / PDA is a touchscreen-enabled, professional (P) or a touchscreen-less, standard (S) phone. Similarly, the next digit, 5 or 6, refers to the Windows Mobile version (5 or 6; note that earlier versions aren’t supported).

After downloading the files, install REDFLYMobileViewer.exe on your desktop and transfer the (right) CAB file to your phone / PDA. Install it on the latter by tapping it; let it restart your phone so that the Redfly client service can start listening. (Note that I would certainly have welcome a solution employed by most other remote controllers: upon noticing the client phone doesn’t have a deployed CAB, they could do it automatically. Hope this is fixed in the future.)

After rebooting the phone (PDA) and reconnecting USB so that activeSync / WDMC is started, you can already click the “Connect” button in the desktop controller.

Opinions, comparisons

Indeed the extended resolution works great. I’ve tested it with the following apps:

- Internet Explorer Mobile (on the iPAQ 210, HTC Wizard and HTC s710)

- Opera Mini 4.2 and some games running under Jbed

- Built-in system applications, setting utilities etc.

- Office Mobile applications

All of these applications (and the dynamic resizing-capable games) did sense the non-standard (non-QVGA/VGA) screen resolutions and resized themselves without any problem.

Second, the speed. If you’ve read my previous phone / PDA controller articles, you know it well enough the more data you’re transferring over USB from the comparatively low-powered, slow processor of the phone, the slower the presentation will be; that is, the frame rate will drop.

While certainly not without problems (slowdown being the most important), REDFLY Mobile Viewer certainly excelled in this area too – it delivered a consistently good framerate at even the highest resolutions. In this regard, only the fastest SOTI’s Pocket Controller can be compared to it.

There are some problems with it, though. Should you want to use this suite as a generic PDA / phone controller suite, you’ll find some of the missing functionalities (for example, clipboard synchronization or, at least, emulating pasting text to the PDA / phone via the keyboard) and incompatibility issues (you simply can’t run some games and apps – most importantly, ones that can only work in Portrait mode) pretty restricting. That is, if you’re looking for a traditional PDA / phone controller and you are absolutely sure you won’t make advantage of the resolution enhancement capabilities of the app, just look elsewhere: even SOTI’s Pocket Controller is cheaper – and is much more featureful (except for, of course, the resolution enhancement).

Screenshots

Let me present you some shots of the app controlling several of my phones / PDA’s. Note that the shots are all pretty huge; this is why I’ve only put in low-resolution, low-quality thumbnails in my article. Just click them to see the original, high-quality, large images

celioOperaMiniXGA.png.jpg

Opera Mini running on my HP iPAQ 210 in XGA resolution

seletableResolutionsOnVGA.png.jpg

On devices with 128+ MByte RAM (like the HP iPAQ 210), you can select resolutions larger than SVGA (800*600)

On devices with less RAM (say, 64 Mbyte), you can only use either WVGA or SVGA (the other two menu items are grayed out):

seletableResolutionsOnQVGA.png.jpg

(taken on a HTC Wizard)

seletableResolutionsOnQVGAs710.png.jpg

(taken on a HTC s710 touchscreen-less smartphone)

Just like on my WM6.1-based WM Professional Pocket PC phone, the HTC Universal, it didn’t work on my WM5 176*220 HTC s310 (Oxygen) (screenshot here) so I couldn’t test how it fares.

Benchmarks

As far as CPU usage is concerned, while not connected, it’s sufficiently low: 0.2…0.4% (REDFLY.exe) on the 200 MHz Wizard (and even less on faster devices). While actively controlling the phone, it still remains almost unmeasurable – WAY better than most other, comparable solutions.

As far as screen redraw speeds are concerned (see THIS for more info on all this),

- on the QVGA, 200 MHz Wizard, the number drawing benchmark has shown every second frame (and lasted 10s). Video HERE

- on the VGA 624 MHz HP iPAQ 210, the number drawing benchmark has shown every 1.5 frame (but lasted 19s – that is, there has been some lagging). Video HERE.

Note that Nanobotz, the other “standard” program I use to evaluate screen redraw efficiency, didn’t start with Redfly being active. When starting the Redfly client with the already-running game, nothing could be seen on the desktop either – it was all black. Nevertheless, Speed Racer delivered VERY good results – approximately 1 fps on a 200 MHz (!!!) HTC s710 / Vox Smartphone (video HERE).

In a nutshell, compared to other PDA / phone controller solutions

Pros:

- Revolutionary resolution extension on both all devices

- very low CPU usage

- support for special buttons not necessarily present on all models: the two softkeys, OK and the red/green phone buttons (not present on WM Classic models)

- decent screen refresh speed

- no keyboard input problems on WM Standard (no-touchscreen) devices

- no compatibility problems with Windows 7 (tested under build 7000)

Cons:

- No built-in screenshot capabilities

- No clipboard synchronization or paste emulation via keyboard

- No goodies like file synching / registry editor

- Can’t operate in Portrait mode: if you switch to it manually on the PDA, it won’t obey

- Limited compatibility with some? most? games (Portrait only?) – iGo doesn’t work either. Airfadude, in the other hand, works:

celioAirfadude.png.jpg

so do Java games under Jbed. For example, Speed Racer running in 800*480:

celioJbedGameFullScreen.png.jpg

(video, taken in the 800*480 mode on the slow [200 MHz] HTC s710 HERE)

- If you don’t want to take advantage of the screen resolution, very expensive ($39.99) – even more than SOTI’s Pocket Controller

- resolutions over SVGA only available on models with 128+ MB of RAM (note that it will work with far less actual free RAM)

- It seems to be incompatible with some models (like the above-mentioned HTC Universal and s310)

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Guest andrewkeith5

yep....i can definately report that this DOES NOT work on my hybrid WM 6.1/6.5 TyTN II (running AtheneOS from XDA-Devs)

I installed the redfly driver which is apparently needed and after that every soft reset became stuck after the htc animation :excl:

such a shame really, i really really wanted to try this out

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Guest gazbert
yep....i can definately report that this DOES NOT work on my hybrid WM 6.1/6.5 TyTN II (running AtheneOS from XDA-Devs)

I installed the redfly driver which is apparently needed and after that every soft reset became stuck after the htc animation :excl:

such a shame really, i really really wanted to try this out

Didn't work on my Touch HD either. Just got a blank screen.

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Guest Menneisyys
i've tried this on my Wizard which is running WM6.5 which caused a hard reset. Is there a patched WM6.5 driver for it?

Don't know of any. (I've tested it under WM6.1 on my Wizard)

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Guest Menneisyys
um, well 6.1 and 6.5 are basically the same underneath right?

I'm not sure whether the cooked XDA-devs Wizard ROM's are indeed fully based on production 6.5 ROM's, or, do they include 'legacy" pre-6.5 modules too.

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