Remote control android tablets from PC

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Hacking' started by JimBalo, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. JimBalo
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    JimBalo Junior Member

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    I am looking for an app to connect from a PC to an Android tablet. The only thing I have found is VNC Server (which requires rooting). I have not yet tried it, since my Sony Tablet S with ICS 4.0.3 does not appear to be rootable yet (at least, that is what the AllInOne tool told me).

    VNC is also usually dreadfully slow, so I am looking for some other alternative - some tool that lets me connect to an android tablet and see the screen as well as control the UI, just as if I were in front of the tablet.

    Is there such a tool available?

    Thanks!
  2. J515OP
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    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Usually most people want to go the other way and control the PC from the tablet. The need to control the tablet from the PC (search for Screencast) is questionable so it isn't implemented very often and as far as I know will require root. You might get better help if you sated explicitly what you are trying to do since general control doesn't sound like an option but there may be other ways to accomplish what you are trying to do.

    JP
  3. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree, knowing exactly what you are wanting to do would be good. There are several apps that will allow you to access the file system AirDroid and iDisplay will allow you limited access to the tablet's screen. No root required.
  4. JimBalo
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    JimBalo Junior Member

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    I am writing a simple app that will be used in various remote locations (stores) where customers can register their name, address, etc. Since these remote locations can be quite far from where I am, I am looking for a way to support the tablets if there are issues (preferably without having to drive 400 miles..). Being able to take over the tablet just like with RDP or similar would be ideal. And I would probably also install an SSH server.
  5. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not certain that it will be possible to do what you are wanting but it sure would be nice. I have provided people limited remote support on their Android tablets but it was by logging into a PC at their end to access the tablet over their WiFi network.

    If you do find a solution please report back.
  6. J515OP
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    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that is gong to be a difficult challenge. Tablets are not PCs (obviously) and if something goes wrong with one it would be very unlikely that you could remotely log in and fix it as you could a PC. In fact if something goes wrong with a tablet you very frequently have to physically reset it with a pinhole or button combination. For low level problems you need to connect via usb and use ADB.

    That is not to say it isn't possible because it might be but just way more difficult than remotely managing PCs. You might have better luck with Windows 8 tablets for that sort of setup.

    Edit: I see leeshor beat me to the response. On the same network you could try something like wireless ADB. If a tablet has issues though you just can't fix it like you can a PC.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  7. JimBalo
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    JimBalo Junior Member

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    lessor & J515OP,

    Thanks for your replies. I think VNC server should provide the functionality I am looking for (but it is probably very slow). I realize that what I can do will still be somewhat limited, as you mentioned.

    I will try VNC server, but it seems I need to get another tablet (my Sony Tablet S with 4.0.3 is not rootable [I see posts from April asking for this, but still no solution that I have found]).

    If you happen to know of a root-friendly 10" tablet, I would be very interested (I have posted a question on this here: http://www.androidtablets.net/forum...ily-root-your-android-tablet-one-click-5.html).

    Thanks!
  8. J515OP
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    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you need a specific performance spec? There are lot of Chinese tablets available that might work. A slightly more main stream solution would be to pick up a Le Pan TC970. Rootable, 10" and only about $180.
  9. JimBalo
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    JimBalo Junior Member

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    No great performance need, but it needs to be able to run v4.x (ICS), be of good build quality (especially since they will be mounted in public areas), have a USB port and about a 10" screen.
  10. J515OP
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    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, well the Le Pan doesn't have ICS. Just out of curiosity is there a reason for needing ICS? The reason I ask is because few tablets are running ICS at the moment (but more everyday) and when you add in the other requirements this really limits your options. You are going to be limited to may 3 tablets with ICS, that are rootable and have about a 10" screen and usb port.

    If the timing isn't immediate a Windows 8 tablet is looking more and more like your best option.
  11. JimBalo
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    JimBalo Junior Member

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    I use certain parts of the Android libraries that are only available in ICS. I might review the app to see how much work it would be to rewrite the needed parts of the app to not use the 4.x specific parts of the lib, but I also hesitate to get tablets only running 2.x since I might find myself painted into a corner, not able to use the tablets for future needs. Also, since we will have to get or custom make stands / mounts for the units, I rather go for a mainstream unit of known good, solid build that will be around for a while. Aesthetics is also a factor.

    I am considering getting the Galaxy Tab 2 10,1". Would you consider this a "root friendly" tablet that usually can be rooted for new OS updates shortly after they come out? Other good alternatives?
  12. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The ASUS line, Transformer 300T and 201 have also been very quickly rooted and using OTA Root Keeper, should stay rooted. So there's another option.
  13. JimBalo
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    JimBalo Junior Member

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    Just an update: I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, 10.1" and it was a cinch to root it. After installing VNC Server & DropBear SSH Server, I now have decent remote access to it (as long as the device boots properly and have connectivity).
  14. m3rlin
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    m3rlin Junior Member

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    use Teamviewer
  15. infoaliasgarbabat
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    infoaliasgarbabat Junior Member

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    You can use various other tools such as RDP from xtralogic, TeamViewer, etc. in order to establish remote connection between PC and android tablet. Also, if you would wish to have remote connection between 2 computers, you can use various remote support services such as logmeinrescue, gosupportnow, GoToMyPC etc.
  16. pitmancd
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    pitmancd Junior Member

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    I'm surprised how many people don't understand the original question! I, too, was looking for an app/tool that would let me control my Android from a computer.

    I finally found something. Goto the Google Play store and search on "VMLite VNC Server". It's pricey but it works.

    Here are the general steps:

    1. Buy and install the app onto your Anroid.
    2. Download the software for your PC (Intel or Mac - I have Windows 7, 64-bit) from the developer's site: VMLite Android App Controller.
    3. Run the PC software.
    4. Have your Android connected to your local WiFi network.
    5. Turn on USB debugging on your Android and connect it to your computer via a USB cable.
    6. Run the Android app and start the VNC server.
    7. Use a VNC viewer (I used RealVNC) to connect to the address shown on the Android, example: 192.168.1.10:5901

    BTW, once connected I was able to remove the USB cable. And I was also able to restart the Android server without the USB cable. However, if I restarted the Android, I had to reattach the USB cable to initially restart the VNC server.
  17. J515OP
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    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Good find. It looks like a developer finally came up with an app to do this "THE FIRST AND ONLY VNC SERVER WITHOUT ROOT REQUIREMENT". It looks like an VNC client will work if you want to use something else in #2.
  18. pitmancd
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    pitmancd Junior Member

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    #2 is still needed. It enables/starts the server on the Android through USB. This may be why root is not needed.

    Also, I just found out how to use a browser instead of a VNC viewer. Once the server is started, enter this into your browser and follow the instructions on the page that comes up: http://localhost:5801

    BTW, it worked with both my Acer A500 tablet and HTC EVO 4G phone.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012

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