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AirDroid 3 blurs device lines even further with new PC and Mac clients, Android screen mirroring

Ian Paul | Dec. 4, 2014
The popular AirDroid utility that blurs the line between your PC and Android phone is finally coming out of the cloud and onto your desktop, with standalone clients for Windows and Mac. The new programs, which are part of AirDroid 3's rollout on Wednesday, means you can get persistent notifications for messages, Android apps, and accept or dismiss phone calls on your desktop--no open browser tab necessary.

The new end-to-end encryption feature is only available on the desktop, and not on the web app.

Trying out the desktop

It's still early days for the AirDroid desktop app, but in my time it I found the app to be a little inconsistent. Transferring files between devices — one of the features that made AirDroid a must-have app for me — was problematic.

If I used AirDroid 3's interface to open Windows Explorer to transfer files, the app worked as quickly and efficiently as you'd expect. But simple dragging-and-dropping to transfer files from my desktop to my phone was impossible, while it worked just fine on the web app.

The company says the drag-and-drop problem is a known issue that would soon be fixed.

The second problem I had was sending text messages. At one point it was working fine on an early beta build, but then it stopped functioning. I could still send texts using the web app, which made this all the more confusing.

Sand Studio looked into the issue and said it appeared to be a connection problem possibly related to the company's network in preparation for the AirDroid 3 launch. In other words, if SMS fails for you on the desktop you should expect to see the feature working again soon.

Another feature that didn't work so well with AirDroid 3 was the ability to accept or dismiss calls on the desktop. Once again, for me the feature didn't work at all in the standalone software, but I was able to use the new web app to reject a call or reject it with a message. The company says this issue is similar to the SMS problem and I should expect to see it working soon. If you experience similar problems, the company recommends trying to sign out and back in on the desktop and mobile apps. That did nothing for me, but hey, maybe it'll help you.

Mirroring

One feature that did work well was the new mirroring feature that lets you control your Android device from your PC. For now, mirroring will only work with a few pre-certified phones the company has yet to announce, as well as rooted phones that can give AirDroid super user permissions. The bad news is AirDroid 3 currently does not support Android 5.0 Lollipop — sorry, bleeding edge Android fans.

As you can see from the image above, the remote connection to an Android device is a little low-res — or at least it was for me on my Nexus 7 running CyanogenMod.

Manipulating the device from the desktop worked just fine however. It was a little laggy, but many remote connection services have this problem.

 

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