Windows Phone Thoughts: Innobec SideWindow Review

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Innobec SideWindow Review

Posted by Jon Westfall in "SOFTWARE" @ 08:00 AM


A Real Second Monitor!
I was very curious about how Innobec pulled off this sort of setup. The idea of putting a large desktop screen onto the small size of a PDA seemed amazing enough, but the software backend seemed to be even more daunting. However, as soon as I installed SideWindow, I found out the secret - the PDA actually appears to Windows as a second monitor, allowing Windows to work with it exactly how it would work with any other multi-monitor setup. This is a clever and (relatively) bug-free implementation, much better than a custom written driver that would do the job without using Windows' built in tools.


Figure 1: Multiple Monitors - My Compaq already has 2 monitors defined (the LCD and an external). In this diagram, 1 is my LCD, 2 is SideWindow, and 3 is the (detatched) external monitor.

However, just because it uses part of the Windows display system doesn't mean that Windows trusts the software though. Those of you using the Windows built-in firewall will get a prompt to unblock SideWindow. This is because the desktop software interacts with the client over TCP/IP (via Activesync) which makes the interaction between the user and the PDA as smooth as the user & the monitor. I noticed no lag whatsoever while dragging items from one window to the other - pretty remarkable. No hesitation in this software. The software does take about 15 seconds or so to setup and run. This seems a bit slow, but given all the software does, I suppose 15 seconds isn't too long to wait!


Figure 2: Let my traffic go! Be sure to unblock SideWindow!

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