Free Phone to Computer App - Google Play Android

Have you ever wanted to control your computer with your cell phone?
Have you ever needed a picture or file, but it's on your computer at home, and you're not?
Do you want to be able to run programs on your home computer remotely?

There's a new app from the Google Play market that can do all of these things.  It's called Phone to Computer.  
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Now let me say with this...it's not perfect but it does work.

When i started to install the software i imagined being able to see my computer screen on my phone, control the mouse and be able to click and type, just as i would be able to if i were sitting in front of it.  It's not quite that.  But lets start with the good stuff.

First, it's free.  You can try it out right now at no cost.  You install the app on your phone, then you download and run a java program on your computer.  The java program is called the Server.  It must be open and running to transmit the data.  Installing that was probably the trickiest part.  First you have to update to Java 6.0, which isn't a problem, there's a link right on their website.  Then you are able to run the file ptc.jnlp.  It will download and verify the application.  Since you are allowing another device to access your computer, your firewall should pop up and ask you whether you want to allow this.  Click Allow and also tick the box that says Always Allow, that way that warning won't continue to appear.

Here's a link to download the free Phone to Computer App.  It is from the Google Play shop and only runs on Android phones.  And here's a link to the creators of Phone to Computer.  This is where you download the Server file, Java 6.0 update and get instructions on how to install everything.

The first time you run the program it will open up a Wizard to try to help you set things up.  The times i tried going through the wizard it always got hung up on Trying to Find Router/Mode.  Apparently it was a problem with the Port Forwarding.  I never did learn how to fix it.  But when i clicked on Exit at the bottom right corner it ended up filling all the information in for me.  

Next you have to transfer all of that computer information to your cell phone.  Instead of typing everything in manually, the program has a really cool QR code generator.  If you read my previous blog post then you already know all about QR codes.  If you didn't then read a quick description here, What is a QR Code and How to Make One.  

You will need to install a Bar Code Scanner app on you phone but most people already have that anyway.  Then all you do is scan the QR code that comes up on your screen and all the information is automatically inserted.  And that's it.

I suggest changing some of the settings on your phone like Automatically Connect to Computer (that way you don't have to tell it which computer each time).  Also Disable Ads and Connect Using WiFi only.

But here is the main Dashboard of the program.  This is what it looks like on your phone.
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 Here's what the Phone to Computer App can do:
  • Control your keyboard and mouse
  • Give you a screen shot of your computer screen
  • Run/Delete/Send any program on your computer
  • Backup your files
Also you can copy files from your computer to you phone and vice versa.  Lets say you took a picture with your cell phone and want to save it on your computer.  Just got to the picture then do Send To.  There will be options like Text Message, Email... and at the bottom will be Phone to Computer.  If you click on that your phone will send the image to your computer automatically.  

The main thing i plan on using the Phone to Computer app for is to remotely control my computer.  By that i mean run Macros while i'm away.  Maybe i'll get into this in another blog post, but a macro is a series of clicks and keystrokes that run autonomously.  I could use the Windows Task Scheduler to run the macro at a specific time.  But with Phone to Computer i could log into my computer, as a remote desktop and run any program.  When you click on the File Management button you see this screen.
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With this i could find the macro file and run it.  Then the macro would automatically start and do whatever steps i recorded earlier.  So the good part is that the program can do what i had hoped, remotely control your computer.  The bad part is that you have to do a little bit of pre-planning by recording the macros ahead of time.

And that brings us to the not so good stuff.  aka. features that aren't quite there yet.

Yes you are able to control your mouse and yes you are able to type.  But you can't actually see what you are doing.  It's just a black screen on your phone.  It's kind of cool when you are sitting at your computer with your cell phone and you see the mouse move around, but then you realize that it won't work when you are away.  And that's the whole point.  When you watch the video showing all the apps features you get the impression that you can see the screen as you are moving the mouse, but you can't.

You can see your computer screen though, but it's only a picture or screen shot.  It's not a live feed of what's going on and what programs are running.

Now i'm not really blaming the program.  I think this is more a problem of internet speeds not being fast enough.  Yes there are things like VPS (virtual private servers) and Remote Desktops where you can control something like your work computer from home, but those are big complex programs that max out your computer settings.  

I do think that in the next few years we will see something like a Remote Desktop for your cell phone.  Where you will run an app on your phone and you will see exactly what's on your computer screen at home.  This program has the basic outline of that, but it's not all there.  

Lets just say the future isn't here yet.  But as cell phones get faster and more powerful and as internet bandwidth increases to things like fiber optic, this will definitely happen.

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