AirDroid is an free Android application from Sand Studios that lets you control your Android and most of its functions remotely, including moving media files and documents to and from your Android wirelessly without a USB connection.
It requires that both your Android and your desktop computer be connected to the same WIFI network, and costs nothing to download and use.
Androids (or any modern gen smartphone) are pretty nifty little gadgets. Just a couple of decades ago, such things were beyond the average person’s imagination but they have become part of our every day lives. Not everyone has one, of course, but they have become affordable to a large chunk of the populace.
So, it seems like everyone and their grandmother has one now, whether it’s an Android based device or iOS or some other company or OS. That being the case has given the mobile application industry a firm kick in the pants to make leaps and bounds in programming and resulting capabilities for every conceivable situation. Want to look up a recipe on macaroons, play a tower defense game or find out what local pizza place delivers? There’s an application for your goal, no matter what it is, and in fact that particular sentiment has become a slogan for certain companies. There’s an app to do just about anything you want with your phone or other mobile OS device.
So, when I first heard about AirDroid, the concept went over my head for a moment just because I am already swimming in apps that I don’t use half the time. When someone says something like “I found this neat app that lets me …” I tend to tune out and lose interest on a subconscious level. Being flooded with so many applications all the time makes me rather numb to them, so to speak. AirDroid, however, was one of those that caught my eye a couple of times while I was involved with other things, and when the subject came up to review it, I thought it would be worth a look.
There are plenty of things to recommend AirDroid as an application to access and manage your Android remotely. First off, it allows you this access via Internet web pages without having to install anything on the desktop system. You will need to have a web browser of course, but that’s pretty standard on any computer and if you don’t have one how are you reading this article? The process of ‘bridging the gap’ between your desktop and your mobile device is twofold, once the application has been downloaded and installed. It’s simple and easy, consisting mainly of running the app and opening a specific web page, the URL of which is provided by the app. You may connect through the standard AirDroid web page, or you can use an internal IP address. Either way is quick and effective. Using AirDroid from that point is pretty self-explanatory. You will be given access to a special ‘desktop’ window that lets you access most important functions on the Android. One of the biggest things I am now using AirDroid for is to maintain the apps on my Android. The menu for doing so is much easier and less cumbersome than the built in interface on the mobile device. Also, AirDroid lets me download any .apk application file from my mobile to the desktop to store as backup and also allows me to directly install an .apk to the Android from a location on the desktop. These are just some of the uses of AirDroid but there are tons more. Simple, free, powerful are all big pros for any bit of software and AirDroid has them.
I didn’t have much in the way of problems with AirDroid, which was a nice change from some of the other apps I have been using recently. Most glaring is the fact that you have to have both the Android and the desktop system on the same Wi-Fi network. This limits the usefulness of AirDroid a bit, but if you want true remote access of your Android for security reasons or whatnot, there are other apps specifically designed for that purpose. AirDroid seems to me to be more of a home-use management system for your mobile device, and that’s what I am using it for. The only other real ‘con’ or downside I found to the app was that it will occasionally want ‘root access’ to your mobile device when trying to do things like taking a screenshot of what’s happening on your Android. For those who aren’t familiar with ‘rooting’ and the process and implications thereof, I would recommend you get someone to help you that does know what they are doing.
The Verdict: I found AirDroid not just useful but very well designed. The fact that it is so easy to use, combined with how effective it is (I got connected on my very first try, which hardly ever happens with any app) make it a winner in my book. I didn’t notice any ads within the app itself so if there are any they are pretty well hidden. Just having access to your Android’s data through a Wi-Fi network is very handy for people who manage or move large amounts of data as well as the more casual ‘Droid owner. I’d recommend AirDroid to anyone who has both a desktop and an Android.