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MobileGo

MobileGo is a fantastic application, designed to interact with many aspects of your Android phone. The big difference to other applications for Android is that it does not run on your phone it runs on your Windows computer and offers up several tools, all of them beneficial and enhancing. In this review I will be explaining and critiquing these features.

How It Works

First off, you need to know that MobileGo can work either through a USB connection or over a local WiFi connection. You must have USB debugging enabled in Settings > Applications > Development. Having this option toggled as On opens up several software APIs and ports on your phone for external applications to use. These accessways into your phone must be open for MobileGo to do its stuff.

MobileGo

Upon connecting via your USB cable, MobileGo automatically remotely installs its daemon program on your phone. If you wish to operate over WiFi, then during your first startup of the computer application you should see a choice of connection displayed on the left hand side of the Home pane. Click on "WiFi Connection Guide" to be given instructions of how to install this daemon seperately so MobileGo can access your phone over the air; it only takes around five minutes.

Interface

The interface is minimalistic for most functions, and sports a crisp and clean layout which could not be better for a productivity- and convenience-oriented application. The primary functions of MobileGo are listed along the top of the application window as large clickable icons. Clicking one of them modifies the main pane of the window to reflect the function chosen. I will review these functions pane-by-pane.

Home

As you can see in the screenshot below, the first thing you are presented with upon successfully connecting to your phone is the Home pane, which is predominantly a break-down of its storage usage, along with a formal model name and Android operating system version.

The memory representations resembles how iTunes displays its memory analysis of an iPod. If you are not familiar with this information layout, then look for the colour keys underneath the bars; in my screenshot, green represents music, and orange represents movies. Next to the key is the exact amount of space each media category is taking up on your phone, although the visual representation helps you better understand the scale of your usage. You can see here that I am a far bigger fan of listening to music on my phone than watching movies.

MobileGo

Since I am not using even half of my SD card memory yet, this visual guide really serves only as a convenient reminder of my usage patterns. If people start to run out of space, however, they could use this to decide what they need to cut back on. The internal phone capacity is also listed below the SD card capacity handy, if you want to keep track of how much space is left.


 

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Back Up Your Phone to Your PC

This is not a button across the top of the screen; instead, this feature is placed underneath the Phone Storage Information in the Home pane. There are many Android-based applications which offer you safekeeping of your contacts and applications, but most slow down your phone whilst doing it and only back up to your SD card, meaning that if you lose your phone your contacts still go with it, even though they are "backed up". Some alternatives, like Lookout Mobile Security, do genuinely backup your contacts remotely on their servers, but it is still a time-consuming activity that involves a load of complications when you come around to restoring them.

MobileGo is different. Since it has a whole computer at its disposal, it offers you the opportunity to back up all of your contacts, SMS messages, and applications to your computer in one fell swoop. I cannot emphasise how convenient this is. People always forget the importance of keeping their data safe, assuming that modern hardware is unbreakable or the software is so finely made that it will not crash. That is not true. Your phone can be damaged and software canmess up. Even if it is only once a month, leave for your phone plugged in for about fifteen minutes, and get that data sent over your contacts especially, since they are more awkward to get back than you may think. It potentially saves you a lot of time and hassle in the long run, believe me.

The file that MobileGo exports to is a custom filetype, meaning that only MobileGo can restore it again if it becomes necessary. The downside is that this does bind you to using MobileGo, which some people may not be so happy about.

Contacts

This pane displays all the contacts you have stored in your phone, including those pulled in from other resources like Google Mail. In this pane, you can choose to send a message , assign groups to your contacts, or import and export them. The Groups feature helps you keep track of who is who in your life; for instance, you know that if you are at work, the people in Coworkers need to be focused on more than those in Friends.

Of course you can also add and delete contacts in this window too. Clicking "Add Contact" in the top left corner of the pane gives you a detailed selection of various data fields you may want to fill in about somebody. Once confirmed, the contact is automatically synchronised to your phone.

SMS

One of the things I love most about MobileGo is the ability to manage your phone text messages from your computer. Not only can you sort through and view them, but you can actually compose and send them too excellent if you have a job that frowns on texting at your desk! The phone can be in your pocket, and you can send and receive texts over WiFi from your computer. Fantastic. Naturally, messages are sorted however you like, by contact, time, etc, and are exportable for being saved and viewed elsewhere, perhaps if they contained important data.

MobileGo

Music

Adding music is simple enough, just click on the big "Add Music" button on the left. You can select multiple tracks or folders to be imported at the same time. To my understanding, iTunes formatted files, MP3s, WAVs, AACs, and FLACs are all supported for automated conversion to allow for playback on your phone.

Alternatively you can drag and drop the music files into Mobile Go Music pane and it will synchronise them for you in the same was as if you had chosen to "Add Music". Both methods automatically maintain a good folder hierarchy and title convention.

A further handy feature is a "Set as ringtone" drop down box. This saves you the hassle of setting a ringtone through the moving files around on your SD card and then selecting them in Android. Now you can simply right-click a track, hover over "Set as ringtone", and choose whether it is your call, alarm, or notification tone.

Movies

In case you did not already know, I should explain that the movie file types your phone can play depends not only on your phone type, but also on its resolution, and the precise encoding style can vary too. You may have tried to copy a small clip to your SD card, only to find that the clip would not appear in your gallery, and if it did it was not playable. By choosing to "Add Movie", you can select several files and they will be automatically resized and formatted with respect to your phone. For example if I get bored I can watch Family Guy from a Wildfire friendly 320×240 mpeg-4(mp4) file.

Photos

For me, it used to be a pain to get photos off of my phone. Once I had taken them, I had to either plug my phone into the computer and browse through folders.

MobileGo quietly reaches into your phone and grabs all of your photos, then arranges them on a grid for you to enjoy. This is far better than most inbuilt galleries and definitely better than viewing them through a USB cable and Windows Explorer. If you see a photo that you want to export, right-click it, click Export, select a destiniation folder, and it is done. You can use Ctrl and Shift to select multiple photos, just as in Explorer.

The Photos Pane (I like Androidify)

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