MyPhoneDesktop Links Your Computer and iDevice the Way Apple Should Have

Illustration for article titled MyPhoneDesktop Links Your Computer and iDevice the Way Apple Should Have

Froyo? That's just what the myPhoneDesktop app eats after a hard day of wirelessly zapping links, text and images from your computer to your iPhone or iPad—a taste of the mouthwatering functionality Google demoed on Android last week.

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As it becomes clearer that smart phones and tablets aren't people's lesser computers but simply their other computers, one of the greatest frustrations—and something Google tantalizingly promised to address with Android 2.2—is how isolated all of these devices are from one another. Thankfully, myPhoneDesktop lets your iPhone and iPad get intimate with your Mac, Windows or Linux PC, without the USB chastity belt or overbearing iTunes chaperone.

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Illustration for article titled MyPhoneDesktop Links Your Computer and iDevice the Way Apple Should Have

Despite its unwieldy name and its unforgiving website, myPhoneDesktop is a pretty smooth operator. You just copy something to your clipboard on your computer—a phone number, a scrap of text, a URL, an image—and the desktop app will beam it over WiFi or 3G to your device of choice. It's a quick, smart way to dial a phone number you encounter on the net, zap a map from your browser to your iPhone as you go out the door, or push a website over to your iPad for further perusal. To be fair, it's not nearly as ambitious as the stuff Google was showing off—you can't, say, buy songs or apps and send them to your phone—but myPhoneDesktop is here now, and it works well.

Best of all, things go where they're supposed to. When I copied YouTube links, they opened in the native YouTube app; crazy-long Google maps links opened in the Maps app; and images were instantly saved in my iPad's photo album. Simply put, this is how computers and mobile devices should interact—seamlessly. Everything you send has to go through myPhoneDesktop's app, which means that the app has to open, log you in, and then process the image/link/whatever you just beamed to it, but it's only a hiccup compared to the ordeal of syncing a new iPad background image via iTunes, or even compared to the workaround of emailing yourself the image.

Illustration for article titled MyPhoneDesktop Links Your Computer and iDevice the Way Apple Should Have
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Sweetening the deal, push notifications give you the option to check your beamed material that very second or let it collect in the app where you can check it out later.

There are myPhoneDesktop clients for Macs, PCs, and Linux machines, as well as a web-based app if you find yourself needing to zap from an unfamiliar computer. There's support for Growl and a bunch of keyboard shortcuts and the next version, pending App Store approval, will have support for multiple iDevices and and and, drum roll please, the app that has got me so breathlessly excited can be had in the App Store right now for only $2.

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It almost seems ludicrous to heap so much praise on an app that accomplishes such a stupidly simple task, but the other side of that coin is realizing just how ludicrous it is that iPhones and iPads don't have this type of integration to begin with. For iDevice users who've been yearning for that connection, MyPhoneDesktop will help you go back to the days when the only froyo you secretly craved was Pinkberry's. [App Store via myPhoneDesktop]

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DISCUSSION

For anybody interested, I'm the author of a similar Android app called ClipBird that's totally free. The desktop app only works on Windows and the web site is practically nonexistant so far, but it works really well and has many of the same features as this thing.

It was originally designed for my personal use, and I used it to copy and paste text from one PC to another while I was at work, and no other solutions would work because the computers were on different networks. After I got soiled by that, I extended the functionality to my phone. Since I had already written it for myself, I decided to extend the functionality to you guys for free.

I'm in the middle of some big updates that will make it much more deeply integrated into the Android OS, and I was going to submit it to Gizmodo after that update was done to see if they'd do a writeup like this for it. Oh well.

As it stands with the current version, any time you copy something to your Windows clipboard it's invisibly uploaded (over an SSL encrypted connection) to a secure web server that I run, and then the last ten items from that list can be pulled up on your phone and used however you want. You can also send things the other way, but that has to be done manually for now.

Next update will offer the ability to paste into any textbox in any program on your phone without loading up the ClipBird app first, as well as the ability to upload from the phone without loading into the app. The next update after that will add support for sharing pictures, but that's a little further out.

My email address is in the app. If you try it out please drop me a line and let me know what you think and what you'd like to see improved.