Phones are all well and good, but odds are, you've occasionally been sitting at your desk thinking: "I need to send a text message, but I really can't be bothered to type on that daft touchscreen when I'm sitting in front of a proper keyboard." What you need, for when that happens, is Airdroid, an app that sits on your phone, and enables you to manage the device from a PC, through your web browser.
- Google Play
External management for mobile phones is nothing new. You could do it on pre-smartphone era handsets from the likes of SonyEricsson and others. It usually used a bit of software, and a cable or Bluetooth link, these were, after all, the days before phones all had Wi-Fi. It feels strange even saying that now, as a phone without Wi-Fi in 2013 isn't really a phone at all.
Airdroid allows you to perform a lot of useful features over a Wi-Fi connection. As long as your phone and computer are on the same network, accessing your handset shouldn't present a problem. The nuts and bolts of this are handled behind the scenes though, so you'll not have lots of configuration to get it working. Every Wi-Fi network we tried it on worked fine, even public hotspots and the like.
So, what can you do? There are lots of options here. Useful stuff like checking who called you, and reading text messages are a bit of a no-brainer. We love the text messaging, because it means we can text without having to hold a phone, and type on a bit of glass. Messages take a fraction of the time, and are usually spelt far more accurately too!
We also rather like the music interface. Here, you can simply download music on your phone, upload new tracks or stream music from your phone to your computer. The music upload is a dream come true, because it means you can quickly get a track on to your handset without messing with cables. Sure, it's not the first app to allow wireless sync, but as an package it's perfect. The streaming music is a nice touch too, although we're not sure how much use it will see.
You can also manage ringtones, look at your contacts and edit them - although the process for this isn't as slick as it is on an Android device - and manage your apps. It is possible to start uninstalling an app from your phone via Airdroid, but you will need to confirm its removal from the handset too.
We like the photo tool, which allows you to browse images stored on the camera and see them full screen. This is easier than most of the existing options with Android, although Dropbox is very cool for this too. Similarly, there's a way to look at videos from the device, and it works well with no juddering or such nastiness.
We're also big fans of the fact you can see what's saved to the Android clipboard. This means you can send things either from your phone to your desktop, or from your computer to the phone. You might be surprised how many times we've needed a feature like that. It's possible to screenshot your device too, but you need to be using a rooted handset to do so. Madness, but this is an underlying issue with Android.
We're recent converts to Airdroid, but now we've got it, we find ourselves enjoying it as a productivity tool for using our mobile in the office as a communications tool attached to our PC. Thumbs up from Pocket-lint for Airdroid.