How to Turn Your Android Phone or Tablet Into a Mouse and Keyboard for Windows

If you own an Android phone and a Windows PC with an Intel chipset, you can now control one with the other using Intel’s Remote Keyboard app.
Whether you have built a DIY budget Windows HTPC or just want to start the next video on your desktop while lying in bed, you don’t need to get up. If your computer mouse dies, your Android can be a good backup. In fact, this is a great way to repurpose an old phone into a nifty trackpad for your PC!

The Easy, Free Way: Intel Remote Keyboard

If you use an Intel-based computer, then you will love what the company is doing with the Intel Remote Keyboard.
How to Set Up Intel Remote Keyboard
  1. Download Intel Remote Keyboard on your Android phone or tablet.
  2. Download and install the Intel Remote Keyboard Host on your Windows PC. You will need to choose x86 or x64 depending on your Windows. If you aren’t sure what you are running, there are four easy ways to know if you’re on 64-bit Windows.
  3. Important: Make sure your Android and Windows devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  4. On your Android phone, tap the Windows device name.
  5. Your Windows PC will now show a large QR code. Just scan it with your Android phone’s camera (following the on-screen instructions) and the two devices will be paired.
  6. You’re all set!

What You Can Do

The app is basically a virtual trackpad and keyboard for your computer. You can use it in portrait or landscape mode.
In portrait mode, your screen is divided into the trackpad area on the top and keyboard at the bottom. Intel’s keyboard looks much like any Android keyboard, but also has a Windows button, an Esc button, and the four arrow keys.
In landscape mode, the trackpad is shown full-screen till you bring up the keyboard, which is obviously an expanded view with more space. You can also usemulti-finger trackpad gestures in Windows. A single tap for left-click, two-finger tap for right-click, two-finger swiping to scroll. Swipe in from the right to bring up the Windows Start menu, swipe in from the left to see your recent apps.
You can even connect multiple Intel devices to the remote keyboard on your Android. This way, you can quickly switch between something like the Intel Compute Stick for TVs and your main PC.
In fact, this app seems ideal to use with Windows-based HTPC computers, or something like the new Intel NUC Mini PCs, since you won’t need a separate wireless keyboard and mouse.

What You Can’t Do

Unfortunately, since Intel uses its own keyboard, you can’t use some of the best Android keyboards. This was a big disappointment, since Intel’s keyboard feels like using a really old keyboard app. It is missing auto-correct, swipe-to-type, text expansion, and several other features. It’s decent enough for a quick search or two, but not much more than that.
Also, you can’t adjust the trackpad’s sensitivity or the mouse acceleration. For my taste, it was a bit too sensitive. I eventually got used to it, but the ability to customize it would have been appreciated.
One other feature I wish the remote keyboard enabled is a simple but crucial one: volume control. If you have to control volume manually on your Windows PC, you need to click the volume button in your system tray and then click+hold to adjust. That’s not as easy to do with the Intel Remote Keyboard because of its sensitivity. Hopefully, in a future update, Intel can just add the ability to control volume remotely with the Android volume buttons.
Of course, the biggest limitation is that you can’t use the Intel Remote Keyboard app with non-Intel computers. We weren’t able to test if the app can control a PC running on an AMD processor, but if you do check, please let us know in the comments!
Just to be clear, the Intel Remote Keyboard won’t let you control your full PC. This is a virtual trackpad/mouse and keyboard for your computer. If you want more access, you can still control your Windows 8 PC from your mobile device.

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