PCs

Review: android-vnc-viewer application

If you want to control the desktop of a target machine via your Android smartphone, the free android-vnc-viewer application might fit your needs.

We are always looking for ways to connect to a cloud, to our servers, or to our desktops, and there are tons of tools out there for these jobs. If you want to connect a smartphone to your desktop or server, you could use android-vnc-viewer, as long as you have a VNC-enabled desktop or server and an Android phone. The application is open source, free, and easy to use.

Requirements

  • Android phone >= 1.5 OS
  • Remote machine with VNC-enabled server

Who is the target market?

The android-vnc-viewer tool is for anyone who needs to be able to connect to a desktop or a server machine in order to control the target machine. This isn't a means to download or upload files but rather to take control of the desktop. It's great for support or just running a task you may have forgotten to run.

What problem does it solve?

How many times have you been away from your office and needed to check email only to find that you left your email client open, and the client is gobbling up all of those precious missives? Or what about a coworker who is having trouble, and you have no access to LogMeIn? Or maybe you need to reboot a server or just impress your friends? In all of these situations, Android VNC Viewer will allow you to do what you need.

Standout features

  • Scaling
  • Multiple input modes
  • Send special characters/keys
  • Open source
  • Free
  • Easy to install and use
  • Multiple connections can be configured
  • Connects to VNC as well as Apple Remote Desktop Sharing

What's wrong?

There are two glaring issues with android-vnc-viewer. The first issue is the limitation of size. You are controlling your desktop from your phone. Although this application makes this fairly easy to achieve, that doesn't account for trying to manipulate a full-size desktop on a tiny smartphone screen. With smartphone screens getting larger, this problem will be less and less of an issue. But no matter how large the smartphone screens become, they will not be a full-size desktop.

Another issue is that the target machine must use VNC. This isn't a deal closer because even Windows can make use of TightVNC, but many users might not be as quick to get the Windows VNC server up and running as would the Linux user.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

The ability to connect to your desktops or servers in multiple ways can make your day more productive and put your mind a bit more at ease. Although android-vnc-viewer suffers from the limitations of smartphones' tiny screens, it still is a very useful tool. Even if you don't use android-vnc-viewer often, those times when you do will make the short amount of time you spend installing and setting it up more than worth it.

User rating

If you have deployed android-vnc-viewer, how would you rate your experience?

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

2 comments
sivgu01
sivgu01

is it possible to view the Complete desktop in one window...? i mean if i have projector in my mobile i can view the desktop big. instead of Tiny Smart phone screen.

wcannon
wcannon

Seems promising but was only able to get an 'establishing handshake' message that eventually failed out. Tried using realVNC & tightVNC. Any suggestions\recommendations\alternatives appreciated.