July 23, 2012
Back in my Palm OS days, I liked having the ability to control my phone from my computer. This meant that I could respond to text messages or emails, and manage the content on my phone without having to pick up the device. Now that functionality has come to Android in the form of AirDroid.
One major feature is that this management is done wirelessly. Unfortunately, it means that your computer has to be on the same network as the device, so this is not a viable solution for me when I am at work.
In addition to sending and receiving emails and SMS messages through AirDroid, you can also manage your contacts, music, pictures and videos, call log and applications. You can type or paste a URL into the widget on the computer, and the browser will launch that URL on the device. You can even manage the contents of the clipboard.
You can also manage the files on your device, and the browser will display how much space is available. This works well for small files, but for larger files I would recommend using a wired connection. One advantage this has for me is that the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7 both mount to the computer either as an MP3 device or as a camera (depending on your settings). This means that if you try to copy something like a Word document to the device, you will get a warning saying that it may be an unsupported file type. Using AirDroid bypasses this warning.
Connecting AirDroid is very simple. On your device, you load AirDroid. On the computer, you browse to http://web.airdroid.com or to the IP address displayed on your device. (Note that if you use Internet Explorer, you will get a message stating that AirDroid is optimized for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.) The browser will display a QR code, and the device will display a 6 character pass code. You can then either scan the displayed QR code with your phone, or type in the 6-character pass code into the browser. The passcode changes each time you start AirDroid. One really nice thing is that numbers in the pass code are displayed in grey, while the letters are black, making it easy to tell the difference between “O” (the letter) and “0″ (zero).
There are 2 connection methods – an “express” method, intended for use on trusted networks, such as at your home. The other option is a “secure” method, for use on public networks, such as in airports, libraries, etc.
While there is ostensibly limited support for Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, I have used this application successfully on both versions of Android. AirDroid is free in the Play Store