WebKey: Manage Your Android Device from a Browser

April 30th, 2013 4 Comments

I’ve been doing more tinkering with my development toy, the Nexus 7, and kudos to Anthony (@anthonyslai) for finding this gem.

WebKey is an Android app and accompanying service that allows you to manage your device from a browser.

WebKey (Play Store link) isn’t new. I found coverage from the Android Police and Lifehacker from a couple years ago, but it’s new to me.

It’s actually a nifty little tool. All you do is install the app, then visit webkey.cc or navigate directly to the supplied IP address on your local network to view your device’s screen. Actually, it’s a bit more involved, but that’s the gist.

webKey

WebKey is both a useful development and demonstration tool.

For development, it exposes pretty much everything you can do on the device in the browser interface. Clicking on the screen executes taps, you can launch apps, change settings, input text from a more familiar keyboard, all that. I’ve tested it over wifi, but it claims to work over 3G connections too.

For demonstration purposes, especially remote ones, it’s much quicker and easier than firing up the Android emulator.

All this in a browser window, no plugins required.

Ingenious.

WebKey does require root, so there’s that. For the security conscious, it is fully open sourced under the GPL and supports SSL over direct connections via IP. Seems there is an issue encrypting connections through WebKey’s servers.

Not bad for a free app built by two guys.


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4 Responses to “WebKey: Manage Your Android Device from a Browser”

  1. chet Says:

    Too funny…I’ve thought about this for the last couple of years, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to manage your phone (settings, apps, etc) from your desktop (where I’m most comfortable)?

    I had almost reached out to you about it too.

    Thanks for this. I’ll check it out and brick my phone again.

  2. Jake Says:

    @chet: Agreed, it would be cool. That whole phone + keyboard dock thing (Atrix, Padphone) seems odd, but is on the right track.

    I think the idea that you have one device that conforms to the monitor of convenience is a sound one. Look at phablets as another example.

    We’ve created uses for tablets, and we already had uses for phones, laptops and desktops. So, why have multiple devices? The device should conform to you and display the resolution you want.

    Start small as the native size, then work up to tablet using expandable displays (bendable perhaps), the plug into monitors.

    You and represent the corner cases here, since we need tools that are hardware-intensive, but as devices get more powerful, that will change.

    The future is a single, do-it-all device.

  3. chet Says:

    Now I’m thinking about having my phone (in the future, when they can handle the software I need) with one of those roll up (bendable) monitors, or two. Phone + Monitor(s) + Keyboard means I can work anywhere…that would be so very cool.

    As it stands, I don’t like working on the laptop away from home because of the 15in screen size, I need real estate.

    This stuff needs to hurry up and get here.

  4. Jake Says:

    @chet: Bendable displays are sweet. Think about the real estate you’d have on a TV, just plug in your computer/stick into a USB port, similar to Game Stick or Project Ophelia. It’s coming.

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