In case it’s not already apparent by the fact that I write for an Android site: I love Android! Everything about my little open source assistant, camera, computer, media player and modem keeps me pegged as a loyal user. Unless there’s a dramatic upheaval in the smartphone market I can see myself sticking with the platform for quite some time.
Unfortunately, managing what is effectively a small computer using just my index finger and thumb can be tiresome. Updating contacts, software, music and so on is time consuming. The iPhone has iTunes, and Android has around a million alternatives – the vast majority of which are as useful as an inflatable dartboard.
MoboRobo promises to organise an Android phone in a quick, easy way. Turns out, that’s not all it can do…
Instead of heading to the Google Play Store like I normally would when starting a review, I went to the MoboRobo site. It’s Windows software for managing your phone almost 100% from your PC (sorry, Mac and Linux users). What’s even better is that it’s free. Once it was downloaded, scanned and installed, I hooked up my phone via the USB cable (I should note that I could have used Wi-Fi). And then — nothing. My phone wouldn’t connect.
A quick search on their website reminded me I hadn’t enabled USB debugging or ‘Unknown Sources’ via Connections in the Settings. Once I did that my phone connected right away, and Mobo Daemon was installed: an app which allows for 100% connectivity between your phone and your PC. Time to see what this baby could do.
My phone lives in my pocket and I’m pretty lazy when sitting down, so I loved the ability to connect my phone via my home Wi-Fi. I found I began to use Wi-Fi more than USB – it also lets me charge my phone’s quicker via a power outlet, while it’s still connected to the PC.
It’s about as easy to use Wi-Fi as it is to use USB: just open up Mobo Daemon on your phone, select Wi-Fi Connections, find your home network, and enable it. You’ll receive a validation code which you enter on the main menu of MoboRobo. Boom. Connected.
Connect via USB or Wi-Fi
My contact list has never been what you’d call organised. Google made a nice attempt to help by syncing Android users’ contacts with their Gmail… and then I complicated things by syncing it with Facebook. And the SIM card contacts. Followed by my own lackadaisical filing methods.
“Linking” contacts helps to cleans things up, if you’re bothered (which, admittedly, I’m not). MoboRobo lets you use the power and ease of a PC interface to drag what’s worth saving from the flotsam. My phonebook now looks less like a Chinese yellow pages and more like a useful list of people I know. You can also use MoboRobo to transfer contacts between phones, with both Android and iPhone being supported. What’s more they can be permanently backed up in case you lose your device.
Speaking of backing things up, MoboRobo does pretty well in that department. Contacts, messages, photos, call records — you name it, it can back it up. Its only failing is that text messages seem to get backed up in a massive pile in the corner instead of in an organised, sequential stream as they are on the phone. Oh well. Hopefully they’ll fix that in a future update.
Download and Manage Your Apps
The “Apps” feature lets you manage and install applications to their device. Unfortunately, after trying it out, I’m not sold on the installation idea. The Google Play store beats it hands down. The third-party app installation store just isn’t anywhere near as nice or as powerful as the Google Play store. What’s more, I can install apps to my Android phone in seconds from Google Play on my PC as they’re pushed to the device. MoboRobo’s attempt is nice, but unnecessary.
What I am impressed with is the managing of apps. I download a lot and use a few leading to quite the buildup. MoboRobo makes uninstalling twenty apps a piece of cake as opposed to the old fashioned direct uninstall from the device.
Text messaging is arguably my favourite feature of MoboRobo. There’s something comforting about texting from your laptop. When I’m working it serves as much less of a distraction (no switching between phone and PC). The message manager displays your inbox, contacts and a large reply field. It’s a piece of cake. It’s worth noting however that text messages don’t go via the web — they go via your phone as normal, so if you’re still paying for texts I wouldn’t let IM frequency destroy your bill.
Photos, videos and file organised
Photos and music are organised quite similarly to most other media managers using tags, folders, genres and so on. Drag and drop is supported to so transferring albums quickly is no challenge. The display window is quite similar to Windows Explorer so PC users will feel right at home.
The design, overall, is good. There’s nothing that’s going to blow you away or that’s particularly worth mentioning which is why I’m only devoting a paragraph to it. Some of the icons are a little on the fuzzy side. That said, I never found myself asking “where the heck is this thing?”. It’s laid out well with main tabs across the top, a column to the left and a column to the right. The organisational features are the focus point of this software. The design is a secondary concern really.
I’m not much of a multi-tasker and I never was. I rarely have the attention span or enough caffeine in my system for it. But right now I have MoboRobo connected to my laptop for texting and possible music management. I’ve used it more than I’ve used Word over the past few days – and seeing as I call myself a writer, that’s saying something.
My phone is as organised as possible. And my contacts don’t have seven of the same person. I give RoboMobo a seal of approval. If your phone’s in shreds it’s definitely worth a try.