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 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!