App of the Week: AirDroid

Uday Mehta/Staff

Related Posts

Name: AirDroid

Platform: Android

Price: Free

Mission: Your Android, on the Web

Though these high-tech expensive bricks available are increasingly becoming the norm, smartphones can’t escape the fact that they are, by birth, phones. And though their only crime is their existence, the fact that they are (regrettably) phones presents a series of limitations. Even those who are dependent upon their phones would tend to agree that size is a phone’s advantage, which couples as a laptop’s disadvantage. And because of this singular inherent advantage, we used to have splits in media, such as text messaging versus instant messaging and camera versus video chatting. Now, phones are gaining some of the functionalities that were previously lost, and laptops remain unable to do so. Because you’re reading this, you’ve probably come to a conclusion that there is indeed an app for that.

AirDroid is a lightweight app that will undoubtedly make life less wiry for the Android faithful. Upon installing it and creating an account, your phone’s role is done. It’s all about the big screen now.

There’s no software equivalent for laptop or desktop computers, but merely logging onto web.airdroid.com will suffice. The website interface is reminiscent of iCloud — for those who flaunt iPhones — with a whole host of icons hovering about and a control toolbar at the top corresponding to a taskbar at the bottom in addition to the action panel on the right. As you may have gathered by the host of buttons and their respective descriptions, you have complete access to your phone’s inner workings. You can also move around the buttons by long clicking them, and you have a total of four desktops to work with, each of which is accessible via the icon to the right of the search bar. Clicking any of the icons opens up a “window” within the page, and each window can be resized and dragged around for maximum flexibility.

The most practical feature is the text messaging — many of us would type out longer messages on average with correct grammar if we had patience with the exceptionally small keyboards, and chances are that the vast majority of the younger generation is quite adept with a full-fledged computer keyboard. You have the option to send, search, delete and manage your messages right from your laptop. The same holds true with contacts, call logs, photos, music, videos and other files. You can play and view them on your laptop and transfer them as well. You can also download content from your phone or upload content to it — the free version has a limit of 100 MB of file transfer per month, whereas the premium version lets you transfer to your heart’s content. As long as you aren’t moving large video files (which can be remedied through Google+ or Dropbox’s camera upload feature), the free version should be plenty.

Some of the coolest features include tracking your device through GPS, making your device ring and even wiping all the data on it remotely. Also, if you’re tired of searching up APK files and downloading them while your device freezes about 17 times through the process, you can download them on your computer and feed them to your device through AirDroid, which will begin the installation for you. An underrated ability is that you can copy text directly to your device’s clipboard and even open URLs or links automatically by pasting them in the toolbox.

Additional features reserved for premium users are the ability to call people from your computer, take screenshots and remotely use the camera to take pictures of a potential thief.

If you feel the need to go on the actual mobile app, it sports a half-decent file and app manager along with a few security settings. The real prize is the desktop site, which reverses the trend of technology going small. Glossing over the 100 MB transfer limit, which is mitigated by never having to carry around a USB cable again, we’ll certify AirDroid with five clogs. If you have an Android phone or tablet, get it. Now.

Contact Uday at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @mehtakid