Use Your Phone As A PC Remote Control

You might be familiar with programs like LogMeIn Ignition that you can use to remotely run Windows and OS X programs from a mobile phone, and I find those programs to have limited value on smartphones because the phone’s small screens make it hard to display Windows and OS X programs. GMote for Android is different because rather than showing a PC’s display on the phone’s screen you use the phone’s screen as a remote control for the PC.

For example, you can use GMote on an Android Phone to select music to play on a PC. The GMote Server running on the PC plays the music, while cover art and the song’s name displays on the phone’s screen. You also have playback controls on the phone, so you can tap buttons to pause, skip back or forward through tracks, adjust the volume up or down, and mute the sound.

Communication between the GMote app on the phone and the GMote Server on the PC occurs over a home network. A feature that is currently in beta is streaming of music playback from the PC to your phone, which you can use to play music from your personal music library on your phone anywhere in your home. The streaming feature has been sporadic in my testing, but I look forward to using this feature when it is finished.

Another interesting way that you can use GMote is as a touchpad for your computer. In this mode you can move the mouse on your computer by sliding your finger on the phone’s screen, just as you do on a trackpad with a notebook computer. One way that this could be useful is to use your phone to control a PowerPoint presentation, though doing so will require that the PC and phone be on the same network during the presentation.

For some reason I find it fun to use GMote to control my computer, and because it is free, it is a painless addition to my app toolkit. The How-To Geek web site has a great article that provides step-by-step instructions for installing and using GMote, and you will find the app in the Android Market.

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