So you’ve got a computer and a phone - right? Just like most people…but what most people don’t realise is that you aren’t limited to just using one at a time. We’ve all probably heard of dual-screen (one computer, 2 screens, double the area to work on) but until recently, I hadn’t heard of mouse/keyboard/clipboard sharing (nicely shortened to ShareKM). ShareKM allows you to share your computer’s keyboard, mouse and clipboard with your Android phone. It’s very simple, very easy to set up (well, with some caveats) and above all, allows you to utilise the power of all your devices at once!
I’ll deal first with sharing from an Android (Galaxy S2, but any Android phone would do) to a Windows 7 PC.
Well, “rooted” really just means that apps can have access to Android’s (i.e. Linux’s) low level interfaces and allows them to override (or, if you prefer, “interfere with”), the main functions of the operating system. Our use of this is to override the default kayboard/mouse I/O operations and also to take control of the clipboard. The app also takes over the phone’s screen rendering to place a mouse cursor on the screen and also adds 2-touch mouse support (Ctrl+Left Click+Drag Mouse).
Most phones are not rooted when you buy them. Most contracts do not allow you to root your phone without voiding the warranty.
It’s at this point that I have to say, continue at your own risk.
Though I would not regard what we are doing as particularly risky. I spent about a day studying online forums and researching how to root my phone safely and I haven’t looked back since - I haven’t had a single problem, I haven’t ever bricked my phone and I still have all the music on my phone that I did 3 months ago - I haven’t lost any data (just a few app settings…but not data). So, to root your phone you…search on the internet. Every phone is different and there isn’t really one set way of doing it. It’s been quite a while since I did mine but here’s a few pointers and links to help:
Point (6) is where the risk is. The kernel handles the boot up and low level commands of your phone. Without it, your phone just won’t run. If replacing it goes wrong and you can’t boot into Download Mode (which allows you to replace any file on your internal SD using software on your computer which would allow you to try replacing your kernel again till it works), then your phone is bricked. Sounds scary? Please don’t be. Bricking your phone is surprisingly difficult unless you deliberately ignore advice or rush through things without thinking. Follow tutorials/videos (mostly videos) properly, and you’ll be fine. If you don’t understand something - research it! Google is a wonderful tool :)
You’ll here the terms ADB, Odin, Heimdall, Download Mode, Kernel, Recovery Mode and ClockworkMod (CWM) used a lot. A brief summary of what they are:
So to root your phone you’ll do something along the lines of:
After your phone starts up, you may well want to immediately shut it down and boot into Recovery Mode and make a backup. This will prevent you losing any data in the future and avoid the risk of permanently bricking your phone. I have not succeeded in losing any data because the one time something went wrong, I simply restored to my previous backup! It is helpful if you have an external SD card as the backups are quite large.
Advice: If searching Google, the XDA Developers site is very helpful!
ShareKM works via Wifi, USB or Bluetooth. The app is called “Share Keyboard & Mouse (Beta)” but really, apart from slightly poor English, there isn’t much “beta” about it. If you have a few connection issues at first, reboot PC and phone, then plug in your phone (via USB - recommended for best responsiveness), then start up the phone client and then finally the desktop client. This only works on Windows! Search the Play Store for ShareKM, install the app.
Now go to: ShareKM project site then download and install the Desktop Setup file.
To set it up:
I also share my keyboard, mouse and clipboard simultaneously (and stably) with my Debian Laptop. To do this, I use are rather more professional looking piece of software but one which is still free and a completely open and donation funded project, called Synergy. Synergy does the same as ShareKM but between PC, Linux or Mac (in fact, ShareKM was created based on Synergy!). Just go to Synergy-foss.org and download the software for your systems. Its very reliable and very easy to set up.
Enjoy the delights of making better use of your hardware and utilising all that power “to the max”!