This tutorial explores how can an Android mobile device (smartphone or tablet) communicate with a PC or network in order to upload and download files, use a physical keyboard,and print.
Connecting an Android mobile device to a PC or network
Uploading and downloading files
- Traditional: Connect a USB cable from the mobile device to the PC. The SD card is seen by the PC as an USB flash drive and you can copy files both ways.
- Wifi : Go to the Android Market and install APPs as Wireless File Transfer Lite or WIFI File Explorer. Both are free, but there are also PRO versions for a few dollars. Your mobile device will become a File Server allowing you to upload and download files using your browser. Once you install it, turn your mobile device to wifi mode and log in, as needed, and you are ready to upload and download files.
- FTP and SSH : Go to the Android Market and install APPs as AndFTP or FtpCafe Trial. Both are free, but there are also PRO versions for a few dollars. These are FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP clients that allow upload and download files from a remote server. This is very useful in a business and university environment for transfering files remotely from/to the mobile device.
Using an external keyboard
- Hardware solutions (tablets): Most tablets have expensive keyboards that connect directly to them (see for example the keyboard for the Galaxy Tab), but I don't see the need for any physical keyboards for the tablets since their touch keyboards are very good.
- Hardware solutions (smarphones): Smartphones given their sizes, would benefit from an external keyboard when used as a travel substitute for a laptop or tablet. Only bluetooth keyboards seem to work, but not perfectly, and are expensive, too. The only exception is the Freedom Pro Bluetooth Folding KeyBoard that works well with Android, iPhone, IPad, etc. It is not cheap ($64), but it works, it is easy to carry, and has drivers to download for free that work. You can read here about their use, or see a video of another software and hardware combination.
- Wifi/PC solution: Go to the Android Market and install an APP like WiFiKeyboard. Your mobile device will accept input from the keyboard of your PC when you use your browser to connect to your mobile device. You will need to turn your mobile device to wifi mode and log in, as needed. Direct your browser to the URL shown in your mobile device and you are ready type in your keyboard to any application you open in your mobile device.
PrintingGenerally the solution to print from a mobile device requires a Wifi connection to the network the printer is located. Of course, it makes more sense to print of your mobile device if you are using a tablet, rather than a smartphone.
- Wifi: Go to the Android Market and install an APP like PrinterShare. This is a free App that let you print in a Wifi network. Once you install it, turn your mobile device to wifi mode and log in, as needed, and you are ready to print files. Of course you need to follow the APP instructions to find your printer.
- Internet (all files): Again use PrinterShare and purchase the premium key. Install PrinterShate for Windows or MacOS, in a PC connected to the Internet. This will allow you to print your files through the Internet to the printer you share, again following the instructions of the APP and the software installed in your PC.
- Internet (document files): Setup (install it, if you have not done so) Google Chrome to do Google cloud print. Once the printer is setup you do not need to have Chrome open, or even keep it connected to the Internet 24/7. The files are held in the Cloud and once your printer comes on-line it will print (to my best knowledge). You need to use Google Docs or Documents to Go in order to print this way. The use of Google Docs and Documents to Go will better covered on the tutorial on Office suites for Android (under development).
This page is maintained by Al Bento
who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This page was last updated on February 15, 2011. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.