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I sit at a desk for most of the day, and having my phone (Sprint HTC Hero) sitting next to me is very useful, but it can be distracting to move my focus away from my PC to control my phone when notifications come in.

What are some good solutions for connecting to my phone and controlling it over WiFi or USB?

I understand that I would need my phone to be rooted for most of the solutions out there, and that multi-touch functionality would probably have to go out the window.

Note: I am on a Mac, but solutions that require any platform should be considered when answering.

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7 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes, rooting is usually (but not always) required. The following are some options:

  • Android Screencast: Probably one of the more easier and popular sol'n
  • Google Code Project "Android VNC". Have to search for it, I can only post 1 link at a time right now...
  • Droid Explorer: App from Marketplace
  • Android VNC Server: A guide that uses a different APK from either sol'n above

Try them out and see which one gives you the best options.

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Android VNC Server is a bit complicated to set up, Android Screencast requires the SDK to be installed, and Droid Explorer looks to be a Windows-only thing. I am going to edit the question to reflect that I am on a Mac, but all platforms should be considered. –  Strozykowski Sep 21 '10 at 14:16
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Installing the Android SDK is incredibly simple. Just download the file and follow the directions. Small price for a sweet solution with Screencast... –  Webs Sep 21 '10 at 15:53
    
I'm not completely against using Screencast, and in fact I will probably end up setting up the SDK anyway. –  Strozykowski Sep 21 '10 at 19:22
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I am now using Android Screencast, and it is spectacular. Exactly what I was looking for, actually. –  Strozykowski Nov 3 '10 at 13:39
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One really easy solution platform free that work over bluetooth wifi usb tethering and also wifi, is simply Airdroid.
It allow lots of thing and is very convenient.

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MAXS (Modular Android XMPP Suite) allows remote connections to your Android device over XMPP. It allows you to control various aspects of Android, includes a SMS/Call/Battery notification and reply system. Additionaly it is able to send and receive files to and from your Android device. There are many other features too.

Using XMPP as transport, the "desktop app" can be every XMPP Client. Which is one of the big advantages of MAXS, as it does not need a dedicated desktop app. Although there may be one in the future.

Note: According to the FAQ I have to disclose that I am involved into MAXS. MAXS is an open source GPLv3 licensed Android app. Everyone can contribute.

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Just tried it and it works perfectly! I have been using GTalkSMS in the past, but it was buggy and the last time I installed it I couldn't even connect to XMPP. I also like the idea of modular design, which aligns well with Android permissions model. Great work! –  Mladen Jablanović Feb 20 at 11:36
    
Thank you. I really appreciate your feedback. Please note that because of a bug in Android 4.4(.2) the service may not run stable on those versions. Also there is a issue with some servers that support privacy lists, that should be fixed in the nightlies.. Feedback welcome. –  Flow Feb 20 at 11:45
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GTalkSMS (Google Code Project Page) is a alternative for android-notifier which works over XMPP (GTalk, Jabber). It allows you to control various aspects of Android, includes a SMS/Call/Battery notification and reply system. Additionaly it is able to send and receive files to and from your Android device. There are many other features too.

Using XMPP as transport, the "desktop app" can be every XMPP Client. Which is one of GTalkSMS big advantages, as it does not need a dedicated desktop app.

Note: According to the FAQ I have to disclose that I am involved in GTalkSMS. GTalkSMS is an open source GPL licensed Android app. Everyone can contribute.

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This is the third answer I've seen from you recommending GTalkSMS. Do you have an affiliation with this product? If so, please review the disclosure requirements in the FAQ. –  Al E. Aug 22 '11 at 12:43
    
Thank you for adding the disclosure. –  Al E. Aug 22 '11 at 13:05
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PicMe works surprisingly well as an alternative to VNC.

I recommend using it over Wifi, though. (as opposed to 3g)

http://www.appbrain.com/app/com.bw.picme

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Never even considered this until your question, but here's what I've got working pretty well -- droid VNC server from the market. Fairly quick refresh (as fast as I'm used to on VNC), better than the SDK screencast or Droid Explorer. Even has http server support built in -- in fact, I haven't tested yet with a desktop client, but the http/java client works well enough.

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Maybe you should give the Android-Notifier over at GoogleCode a try when using a Mac or Linux. The Android-Desktop-Notifier works fine when using Windows.

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Although it wasn't quite what I set out to find, I am going to give this a try today and see how it goes. Maybe I was asking the wrong question? :) –  Strozykowski Sep 21 '10 at 14:23
    
This does seem like a good solution, but it's not as full-featured as I would like. Note: I set all the notifications to stay on the desktop through the Growl config, so that I wouldn't miss them. –  Strozykowski Sep 21 '10 at 15:31
    
I am going to make this the accepted answer. I have been using it for a bit, and wish that it would send all notifications, but it works great for what I actually needed to do in the end. –  Strozykowski Oct 19 '10 at 14:31
    
I took away the answered status, not because This is not a good answer, but rather that the accepted answer provided a better fit for my needs. I still use Android Notifier, though, as it is nice to be able to see who is calling from my desktop, rather than having to open the screensharing session. –  Strozykowski Nov 3 '10 at 13:40
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