Android VNC Server

UPDATE: Check out Android Notifier which sends phone events to Growl

Yesterday I was firmly entrenched in my couch when I heard my phone chime. It was on the table and I wondered what was available to view my phone’s display remotely so I could read and send text messages.

I found a few references to the RFBserver in Android 1.0. You could attach to the VNC server remotely by forwarding the tcp port over the Android Debug Bridge. This would work but I was hoping for something less involved. I’d need to setup ADB over wireless to make it useful too.

A Flickr user that had been using the RFBserver said they were now using Android Screen Monitor. It connects via ADB and shows you exactly what is one your Android device’s display. I’m sure it’s handy for development, but the display is one way; you can’t input commands.

I finally discovered oNaiPs Android VNC Server 0.2b. He released it at the end of June. After install, my client was eventually able to connect to it. While my mouse clicks didn’t seem to be translated properly, the app showed promise. One thing I wasn’t planning on: the Nexus One and my laptop have the same vertical resolution, so the VNC window is HUGE. I look forward to future performance improvements and usability upgrades (i.e. turning off screen lock).

What I really want is my phone to be an extension of my computer. Something I could see in a window and operate with my mouse. You could drag and drop files onto it or place calls through your computer speakers. Finding and installing apps along with other configuration procedures would be much faster with a full keyboard and mouse

I just wanted to read my text messages which is something Google Voice has essentially solved. If I used Google Voice exclusively, I could read and respond to all of my txt messages online. I’m a bit too attached to my phone number though and Google Voice doesn’t support cellular porting. Maybe they’ll buy T-Mobile and get some more flexibility.

Google Voice is on the verge of virtualizing all phone communication. There are only two parts left: porting cell numbers (which is only important to whiners like me) and a solid desktop client. Google bought Gizmo5 a while ago and froze new account creation and software releases. They’re bound to release a new client soon that will be an all inclusive telephony app. Gizmo5 has a flash phone that you can tie to your Google Voice account, but I think Google will release a desktop app.

2 Responses to “Android VNC Server”

  1. Jeramy says:

    What about using something from Synergy to access the Nexus 1 via your laptop? I know that doesn’t address the sound, but it another avenue to pursue.

    http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/

    My favorite OS X client for Synergy, SynergyKM:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/synergykm/

  2. eliot says:

    There’s nothing like Synergy on Android but it would be an interesting idea. It’s one of those things that would be rad on the iPad but Apple would never allow.

    A friend was considering setting up a Bonjour service so you’d get SMS via that if the phone was on your network.

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