If you use Google Apps, you already know that your email, contacts, and calendar are automatically synced between your computer and your phone without needing to connect the two via cables. But did you know that you can do a lot more with this two-way connection?
In this roundup, we’ll take a look at apps that let you type long text messages on your computer keyboard, use your phone as a mouse for your computer, manage your PC downloads remotely, call friends using your computer’s sound system and microphone, and pretty much anything else (except for charging the device) — all without wires. It’s wireless nirvana!
Starting off the list is a really cool looking app for Windows machines. This app will let your completely manage your phone calls right from your computer. View call lists, make and answer calls, view contacts and more. This is a great tool for anyone constantly in front of a Windows computer.
LazyDroid takes an app like Wifi Keyboard to the next level. Like Wifi Keyboard, you access the app via an IP Address; from there you can make calls, send SMS, and even access the file browser all right from your computer. This is a very well done app that I strongly recommend!
Like LazyDroid, Remote Web Desktop allows you to view your phone on a “desktop-like” interface using your Wifi network. Incredibly feature rich for a free app, Remote Web Desktop allows you to view a file manager, send texts, manage contacts, take screen shots (on rooted phones) and much, much more. Definitely worth checking out.
A third app that allows you to access your phone from your browser is Remote My Droid, which allows you to view files, read and send texts, and more. The developer also promises a pro version later this year.
Barnacle Wifi Tether allows rooted phones to become wireless hotspots (despite certain carriers’ best efforts). Turn on Barnacle and it will create a Wifi network of the same name that you can then connect your computer to. This has come in handy quite a bit when I couldn’t get a real Wifi connection.
Those who have Google TV can also use their Android phone as a remote using the Google TV Remote app. As long as both your phone and your TV are on the same Wifi network, they will connect and you can control your TV. You can even use the side volume buttons!
Google TV isn’t the only one in the phone-as-a-remote game. Boxee, an Internet TV device, also has an Android app that allows you to control the box with your phone or tablet. Play, pause, search, and control volume all from your Android device!
Rounding out the trifecta of Internet TV remotes is Roku Remote, an Android app that controls your Roku box. This app will connect to multiple Roku devices via your wifi network, and the claim is that it works better than the remote Roku comes with.
Sometimes just a remote isn’t enough. Sometimes you want to watch TV on your device. If you’ve got DISH network, DISH Remote Access allows you to do that and more. Using the app, you can watch TV, manage your DVR, and do program searches from anywhere. A must have for ever DISH subscriber.
With phones and tablets becoming more powerful, it’s fair to want to work on those devices and sync that work with a computer. There is (in my humble opinion) no better way to do this than with Dropbox. Sign up for an account and install the native Dropbox account on all of your machines/devices. You now have seamless syncing across everything.
A tool a bit more powerful for PC users comes in the form of Android Sync Manager WiFi. Using your wifi network and the PC client, you’ll be able to access the sync your files, as well as your calendar, contacts, messages, and more.
Looking for a more cross-platform solution? While you can’t sync calendars or contacts, Wifi File Explorer will let you stream files between your Android device and your computer using only a wifi connection.
On Air is an app that will create a virtual drive on your PC, Mac, or Linux box that will allow you to copy from or add to it as if it were connected to your computer. Start up your app and look for your Android device in your Finder or My Computer area.
There are tons of ways to sync music to your phone or tablet, but iSyncr with the WiFi Add-On may be the best. This app lets your transfer songs from iTunes over a Wifi connection. It requires the purchase of iSyncr, either for PC or Mac, which costs $2.99.
Here’s a standalone app that will allow you to sync your iTunes playlists to your Android device wirelessly. There is also a free trail version if you want to try before you buy, which limits to 1 playlist and up to 30 songs.
AirSync is a wireless add-on for doubleTwist, an app widely regarded as “iTunes for Android.” While doubleTwist allows you to sync while your Android device is connected to your computer, AirSync is an add-on that will allow you to sync via your wifi network.
With the launch of Spotify in the US a couple weeks ago, this app has turned out to be a great find. Earlier in the roundup I mentioned an iTunes Remote; this app is a remote for Spotify. Have complete play control, select playlists, and even search and add tracks. Also stream tracks if you have a premium account. The catch? It’s only for Windows machines.
So you want to switch a playlist or album in iTunes, but your computer is across the room or in a different place in the house completely? No problem. Remote for iTunes uses your Wifi network (like most of these apps) to connect with your iTunes library. Using this app you can play any album, artist, or playlist you’d like without moving from your spot.
I’m sure there have been plenty of times when you were browsing the web on your computer and you came across a link you wanted on your phone. I used to email the links to myself; that is, before Chrome to Phone. Download the Android app and the Chrome extension and start sending sites directly to your phone!
Prefer Firefox to Chrome? You’re in luck! The Firefox Android app lets you sync between your desktop and your mobile phone browser; plus, you’re getting a lot more bang for your proverbial buck. You have the ability to sync bookmarks, browsing history, tabs, passwords, and more.
Showing the photos on your phone to a group of people can be a bit cumbersome. With Media Show on PC, you can use your wifi network and any computer’s browser to display your photos on a much fuller screen. And the best part? The app is totally free!
This awesome little app allows you to stream what your Android device’s camera captures right to a computer over a Wifi connection. Great if you want to set up a spy cam or just mess with your friends.
Wifi Media Sync will allow you to select certain files to sync with your PC, presumably by selecting folders on your computer. When you press the sync button, Wifi Media Sync will check for changes and new files to sync with your device.
This fantastic app will allow you to remotely access your computer from anywhere, at anytime. By providing remote access, you’re not only gaining access to the file system, but the keyboard, mouse, and applications installed on the computer. You’ll have complete control. Great if you’re always traveling, especially if you have an Android tablet.
A similar app to LogMeIn Ignition is Desktop Remote, which allows you to stream video, use your Android keyboard, and touch to move the cursor on Windows computers. It requires a piece of free desktop software.
µTorrent Remote is a nice little app that will allow you to monitor and manage the µTorrent downloads on your PC or Mac from anywhere you get an Internet connection. View what your downloading, seeding, and what’s completed. Definitely a must have for big µTorrent users!
Here’s another VNC viewer for Android. This one works with most VNC clients on desktop computers and has the benefit of being free. If you’re looking for a VNC viewer, this might be a good start.
So that’s all I’ve got! There are a ton more out there, and some I purposefully left out (like Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player ) that don’t provide a direct link to some other in-home device. What do you use? Sound off in the comments!