Okay, this probably isn’t going to drastically change the lives of either casual users of Android or developers on the platform, but I still found it to be cool. There’s a Chrome app on the block called Vysor, and it offers a super simple way to view and control an Android device from a desktop computer.
Up until now the only real solutions for mirroring the video feed of an Android device to a computer and actually interacting with the operating system from there have involved rooting the device itself. There’s the popular AirDroid for sending data back and forth with ease, but even that app needs root access to provide full mirroring and control. Not only is this a complicated process that can be intimidating to anyone other than tinkerers and power-users, it can also be dangerous — some specific phones and carriers frown upon rooting, using software to actually brick devices which get rooted. Google’s own open source Android Screen Monitor only does the mirroring half, leaving control to the device.
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Vysor makes this all a bit easier and safer. The most complicated step is enabling developer mode on the Android device, which entails visiting Settings > About phone and tapping the build number seven times. After that, you just toggle on USB debugging from the Developer options menu, plug your phone in to your computer, and the Vysor UI will guide you through choosing your device.
The app is, admittedly, not the most performant. The video it produces is compressed and a bit laggy, and scrolling in Android through Vysor is most accurate when you click and drag, rather than just trying to drag for those of us using laptop trackpads. But it does have the “beta” moniker slapped to the end of its name, so we’ll have to give the team some leeway there to work some of this out. That team, notably, is none other than ClockworkMod, which has experience building products of similar functionality. AllCast, for example, is a Chrome app for easily beaming photos, audio and video from an Android device to the Chrome browser (or Chrome OS, of course).
Vysor Share, another feature of the Chrome app, enables users to remotely control a smartphone from another machine through the internet, as long as both PCs have the app installed. So if you left your PC at home with an Android phone connected to it and set up in Vysor, you can install the app on another computer and gain access to it. Pretty neat.
Vysor works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Chrome OS since all you need is Google Chrome which a lot of us already have.