Sunday, February 14, 2010

GRemote Is My New Best Friend (remote control for PC via mobile device)

I’ve been trying to configure my Omnia i910 as a remote for my PC, and thus Windows Media Center (via Bluetooth and Windows SideShow), for a while.  I have been extremely unsuccessful in this endeavor, so today I decided to see if I could find a decent 3rd party app to take care of this seemingly simple task.

Hello GRemote!!!

There are two versions of this program (both work on Windows Mobile and/or Android): GRemote Pro ($14.95), and GRemote free.  I went with GRemote free, and it seems to do everything I need it to.  GRemote Pro has a larger suite of features, but since I’m just looking for a media controller, GRemote free is perfect for my needs.

Evidently GRemote Pro will work with .Net 2.0, but the free version requires .Net 3.5 or later (no big deal –just make sure you have .Net 3.5 installed on your device).

To make GRemote work, you’ll need to install the GRemoteServer program on your PC and GRemote on your device.  You can configure GRemoteServer to spawn on startup, or manually; I have mine configured manually, as I’m not always using my laptop as a media center.  Be sure to install the appropriate CAB for your device’s resolution.  The first time I installed the program on my device, like an idiot I installed just the “qvga” version instead of the “wqvga” version appropriate for the wider screen of the Omnia.  Because of this, the app was crashing on me quite a bit until I figured out what was wrong.

You can configure the app to work with multiple profiles, which means you can have a profile for all your computers (just make sure you install GRemote Server on any computer you wish to use with GRemote).  Configuring profiles is extremely easy thanks to the “find” button used to automatically retrieve the IP address necessary for communication between the server (your PC) and the device.

GRemote will work via USB, WiFi (my choice) and Bluetooth.

The free version includes these main parts:

GCenter, where you select the control type you’d like to use,
Gmouse, a virtual mouse that works with your device’s gravity sensor to control your PC (on the Omnia I have the HTC Emulator installed, and it works beautifully! Make sure to hold your finger on the screen to make it work (it took me a little while to figure that one out). If you click the “touch free” icon, the feature will work without touching the screen),
Touchpad, a virtual touchpad to control your PC,
GPad, specially configured for navigating around things like Media Center,
GMedia, for directly controlling media program features (volume, stop, start, forward, reverse),
Keyboard, an interface that you can type with,
and GRace, a 2 axis, 12 button (?) game controller.


The app works perfectly with Hulu and Windows Media Center.  In fact, since it can function as a gyroscopic mouse and touchpad, it works perfectly with damn near anything on your PC (like Miro and VLC)!

Extra points for a really nice, clean looking interface with simple, finger friendly buttons and great design.

I love it.  One of the best (if not the best) apps I’ve installed on my Omnia to date.

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