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Summary:

I was debating on whether or not to add a Stowaway Bluetooth mouse to my bag for today’s trip to San Francisco but jkOTR reader Dan might have saved me from carrying it. He mentioned Air Mouse, an application that turns your iPhone or iPod touch […]

AirmouseI was debating on whether or not to add a Stowaway Bluetooth mouse to my bag for today’s trip to San Francisco but jkOTR reader Dan might have saved me from carrying it. He mentioned Air Mouse, an application that turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a wireless mouse. The software costs $5.99, but since I’ll likely be expensing a $1.79 to catch a cab, I figure I can slip this in to the business expense report too. ;)

After reading a review, I figured this is worth the look and downloaded it this morning. Once the app is installed on your handheld, you need to make sure you download and run a server-side bit for your PC. Yup, it’s PC only for the moment (Windows XP or Vista), but a Mac OS X version is in the works. Air Mouse communicates over WiFi and you’ll need the IP address of your PC on the network; just pop that into the configuration screen of Air Mouse. After that, you’re all set.

The display on your handheld looks like the top of a mouse: you have "touchpad" sections and scroll buttons to tap. You simply use it like a real, physical touchpad in that regard. The iPhone keyboard is always present and usable; nice feature for slate UMPCs, no? Here’s the nifty part: since there’s an accelerometer in the iPhone and Touch, you can use the app like a gyroscopic pointer as well. To do that, I just held the top, center button of Air Mouse and tilted my iPhone left, right, up and down to move my cursor around. Slick!

Air Mouse requires a WiFi router, i.e.: your PC must be on a network, so it has a limitation right there. Ideally, I’d like to be able to use it in a "standalone" mode where it’s just my PC and my iPhone. Perhaps I can fiddle with Internet Connection Sharing on the trip to make that happen. Regardless, it’s a useful app to have in the mobile toolbox when on a network; thanks Dan!

  1. Will this not support and AdHoc wifi network from a laptop?

    That would make it work “standalone”.

    Paul

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  2. I remember using something similar for Palm OS on my tapwave zodiac. It didn’t have gyroscopic functions of course but it was a great way to remote control my media center.

    Please post your impressions Kevin. This interests me more than most of those other apps people are talking about.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Kev. I’ve really wanted a mouse app for my iPhone, but so far they’ve all been for Mac, not Windows. Can’t wait to give his a go when I get home.

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  4. Hmm, there are other wireless apps, for Powerpoint for example, that make use of an ad hoc conection so I can’t see any reason why this can’t work the same way (assuming it currently doesn’t).

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  5. This is just D U M B, DUMB! (not the app, the comm protocol it uses…) Not every laptop has WiFi, tho most do. Not every laptop has Bluetooth, but MANY do. The iPhone (2G or 3G) has BT. Apples MacBooks (regular & pro) have BT. This should work over BT and not bother with WiFi at all.

    Am I alone on this?? I wonder why the author didn’t go that route..? WiFi at my house is gishmiggled right now, and not working right. If this used BT instead of WiFi, I could use, and would buy, this app immediately.

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  6. Chris, I agree with you but the app isn’t that old. I would hope that in future versions this could work with Bluetooth. Bear in mind that Apple has limited the Bluetooth profiles / capabilities on the iPhone and iPod Touch so that solution might not be an option.

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  7. Chris, this would be a great option to this program, but Apple does not allow iPhone developer to write programs that access bluetooth, so currently WIFI is the only way iPhone programs can communicate with a computer.

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  8. Ray is correct; it would be awesome if you could use the bluetooth or USB connection, but apple does not allow it for official applications. Yes, that essentially sucks. :(

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  9. I just got this on my mac, and made a “computer to computer network.”

    its the same as Ad Hoc I guess… and can probably be done on windows.

    This allowed it to be a standalone mouse/ wireless keyboard (kinda)/ trackpad, that did not need an internet connection!

    All you do is make the network on your computer, then connect your ipod/ iphone to it using wifi!

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  10. bigmikebrooklyn Friday, October 17, 2008

    this app would be great, if their site hosting the server file were not down because they reached their bandwidth limit. i just bought the app, and now i have no way to use it. Ballsacks. vinegary ballsacks. who’s ignoring their blackberry/iphone on friday night telling them their commerce site is out of bandwidth…? are the developers really on that tight of a budget? also, about the blue tooth thing, might also be impractical if you’re media center pc/mac is far removed fromyour viewing area. BT only has about a 30 foot range under ideal conditions.

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