AutoRemote is an app favorite of mine, and also a hidden gem of the Play Store. It started out as a Tasker add-on for allowing Tasker-enabled devices to be controlled from the web (and later talk to one another), but then it got an update that expanded its usefulness beyond the Tasker universe. The developer has been hard at work with an even bigger update, and I was allowed to play with the beta before it would be released publicly.
The upcoming update builds on what AutoRemote already does. There’s now a Windows program that expands its functionality to computers, allowing you to both send and receive messages. You can then use those messages to not only trigger Tasker tasks on your Android device, but you can also run commands in Windows from incoming messages from the phone, either sent by Tasker or the app itself. In essence, it does what I’m currently using Remote Notifier for, an app which is long abandoned by the developer. AutoRemote actually does it better though, as running commands is a main feature, and not just something thrown in, like in Remote Notifier. The ability to send messages through Dropbox can also be used as a back-up for sending messages directly, which should make it more reliable.
The Dropbox system is not just a backup system though, as it also has the advantage of allowing multiple PCs to work off the same message. In theory, you could set up all the PCs in an office to shut off by pressing a button on your phone. You can also use the feature from the last big update, integration with Android’s Share system, to share content directly to Dropbox. If you open a YouTube video on your phone, select Share, and then Remote Open Url to your Dropbox account, the YouTube video will open automatically on your PC. Since it’s Dropbox based the message will stay in your Dropbox even if the PC is off, so you can send links to your computer while it’s off and have them open when it’s turned on.
The website that was once the main focus for this app has also been updated, and you can now send messages using parameters in the URL directly. This is perhaps particularly useful for developers as it makes it possible to integrate with AutoRemote’s framework from practically anything.
AutoRemote started off as a useful little curiosity, but it’s quickly growing into something much, much bigger than that. It’s removing the borders between OSes, specifically Windows and Android, and making it easier to make these devices talk. The standalone functionality is great, and the automation possibilities even greater. Through the use of EventGhost, you can make your computer talk to your phone, like in the example I configured to test this out below:
The developer is using this kind of device-device communication himself, where logging onto his work computer activates a profile on his phone. The possibilities are endless, and I’ll be playing with this a bit more to see if I can’t get into the mindset of having my computer and mobile devices truly connected. With new features like this, finding ways to use it is as much about getting out of the mindset of what can’t be done as it is anything else.
All the new features are working in the beta, but there’s still some polishing that needs to be done before you’ll see the official update in the Play Store. You can of course play with the current version until then.
Download: Google Play