Use Your Android Device As A Side Monitor With A Windows or MAC Desktop
By on April 30th, 2011

Dual monitor setups are ideal for multitasking. You can move application windows from one monitor to the other, keep an eye on programs like Tweetdeck on the secondary monitor while doing your primary work on the main one. Multiple monitors surely consume a fair amount of desk space but they are actually worth it.

In case you don’t have an extra monitor at home but have an Android tablet or a smartphone, you’re in good company. iDisplay is a simple application for Android devices which lets you use your Android smartphone as an extra side monitor with PC or MAC desktop. You will need a common Wi-Fi network at your home or office to use the Android device as a side monitor with PC or MAC.

Here are the step by step instructions that needs to be followed:

1. On your Windows or MAC desktop, fire up the browser and download the iDisplay desktop client. During installation, Windows firewall will block some features of the iDisplay server, click Allow Accessto grant all the necessary permissions.

idisplay-installation

2. On your Android device, go to the Android market and install the iDisplay client for Android. The application isn’t free but you can use the trial version of the app for 1 week.

3. Make sure both the computer and your Android device is connected to the common Wi-Fi network.

4. Now run the iDisplay desktop client on your Windows or MAC computer and launch the iDisplay application on your Android device.

5. On the first run, the Android app will automatically detect your desktop computer, as shown below:

Android-detection

6. Tap on the name of the computer and you will see a notification on the desktop computer, as shown below:

idisplay-desktop-app

7. Click Allow Accessand it’s done. You will see the following notification window on your Android device:

Android-notification

8. Click Okand you will see a preview of your desktop screen on the Android device. Drag any program or application window towards the edge of the desktop monitor and you can slide the window into your Android device. Here is a view of Windows Explorer when viewed from my Android phone:

Windows-explorer-android

Using program or application Windows On the Android screen is a bit tricky but once you get used to it, you will love playing with them. There are two ways you can control an application or Explorer window on the Android screen. Either move the mouse cursor from your desktop computer to the Android screen or use Android’s own touch features for minimizing, maximizing and moving program windows from one position to another.

And here is a broader view of my laptop running Windows7 and the Android phone acting as an extended side monitor using iDisplay ( I regret the poor image quality, blame my retro mobile camera).

Android-phone-side-monitor

Note that I can move multiple browser windows from the desktop computer to the Android device. The only downside is that the corresponding size of the window decreases when you slide the window on your Android device. While using a smartphone as a side monitor is not that useful due to it’s small screen size, folks who have an Android tablet can make good use of iDisplay. [ via ]

Give this a try and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Author: Amit Banerjee Google Profile for Amit Banerjee
Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

Amit Banerjee has written and can be contacted at amit@techie-buzz.com.

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