Back in October 2013, Microsoft launched Remote Desktop apps for Android, iOS and OS X. Notably absent from that list was Microsoft's own Windows Phone platform - the company promised that it was "working on a version of the app for Windows Phone", but did not give any hint of when users could expect it to arrive.
However, Microsoft now appears to have quietly released that long-awaited app into the Windows Phone Store. Our esteemed former colleague, Robert Brand, spotted the "Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview" app on the WP Store this morning.
The app supports a "rich multi-touch experience" according to its description, and includes full RDP and Remote FX support. It also claims to provide "high quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage."
The description also states that the app was most recently updated today, April 23. Curiously, Rob found that it was already on his list of purchased apps, though he couldn't recall previously installing it. When I reviewed my own Purchase History, via windowsphone.com, the app was listed as having been purchased on June 23 2012 - a few days after Windows Phone 8 was first announced.
It appears that the Purchase History lists the date not of the Windows Phone app installation, but of its sister app for Windows 8, as both Rob and I have ascertained that each of the dates listed on our accounts appears to correspond to our respective installations of the Remote Desktop app for Windows 8, which launched back in May 2012. This suggests that Microsoft has made Remote Desktop a Unified store app - meaning it can be installed on multiple devices under a single licence - although its listing in the Windows Phone Store (both online and on-device) does not yet make this clear. [Update: Several hours after it first appeared on the Store, the app listing has now been updated to include the Unified app icon. Thanks to Neowin member Stokkolm for pointing this out!]
The Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone is now available to download from the Store, for anyone with WP8.1 installed on their handset. Yes, this app is exclusive to Windows Phone 8.1, so if you haven't yet installed the Preview for Developers, you won't be able to install the Remote Desktop Preview app either.
Source: Windows Phone Store | images via Microsoft | Thanks to Robert Brand for the tip!
This article was updated after publishing to state that this is likely a Unified store app, and to correct an ambiguous reference to Universal Windows Store apps.