LogMeIn Ignition for Android – access your home PC from your smartphone

Back in May, we reported on the availability of a beta version of LogMeIn Ignition for Android phones. With LogMeIn Ignition, you can remotely (and securely) access your home computer, using your smartphone and a data connection.

Once your phone connects to your PC, you get full access to your desktop, and can use your touchscreen to control your operating system, just as easily as sitting behind it. For travelers, this means you can start programs, view documents, send emails and more. I’ve been using LogMeIn for several months now, and it really has helped me several times when I forgot to do something important before leaving.

LogMeIn works over almost any connection, but the faster the connection, the nicer the experience will be of course. On a stable 3G connection, things are very efficient, and scrolling around the screen is very fast. If the connection drops to EDGE, you’ll naturally need to be a bit more patient.

LogMeIn on Android works the same as on the iPhone version we reviewed back in February – move the screen around with your fingers, and whatever the mouse pointer is on is what you’ll click on when you tap on the screen. You can double tap with two taps, and right-click when you press the mouse button on the toolbar. Zooming is done through the toolbar zoom button or with pinch-to-zoom on multi-touch devices.

The application has a whole host of features, including quality, color and resolution settings. On home setups with more than one monitor, you can easily switch to any of the screens, or display all screens in one session.

When you connect to your home PC, the LogMeIn client lets you know someone is running a remote session, so anyone not on your trip won’t be alarmed when things start moving around.

One other feature you can use LogMeIn for is for providing tech support – if you have someone in your family that is less-than-savvy with their computer, you can make help them out no matter where you are.

LogMeIn Ignition for Android costs $29.95 and is available in the Android Marketplace.- search for LogMeIn, or scan the QR code on the right. This price may seem steep, but there are no other monthly fees involved, making the investment much easier to accept.

Downsides to the application are that you need to keep your PC on or tweak your settings to allow for “wake on lan”, in which case your PC will wake from its sleep if it receives a request for a connection.

All in all, a very well designed application. It arrived out of beta without a single bug (that I could find) and connections are speedy and reliable enough to access my PC wherever I am.

Of course, with LogMeIn on your computer, you are not limited to your smartphone – you can still access it using the web or a remote LogMeIn client.

LogMeIn Ignition now available for Android phones

Back in February, we reviewed LogMeIn Ignition for the iPhone. With LogMeIn, you can remotely access your PC, and get full control over it. The advantages of this for travelers are pretty obvious, but at the time, the mobile client for LogMeIn was only available for iPhone users.

Starting today, Android phone users can get the same benefits, thanks to the LogMeIn Ignition beta, now available in the Android Marketplace.

The beta is free, and from my 20 minute test seems to function perfectly.

To get the LogMeIn beta on your Android device, search for LogMeIn in the market, or scan the QR code using the Android Bar Code Scanner. You’ll need a LogMeIn account to use the app, so don’t forget to create one at logmein.com.

Access your home computer with your iPhone – Gadling reviews LogMeIn Ignition

Have you ever had the need to access files on your home computer when you are on the road? If you carry an iPhone or iPod Touch, LogMeIn Ignition might be the solution.

LogMeIn Ignition has been around for some time – providing remote access to your computer using nothing more than a browser. It is one of the most popular secure ways to get at your computer remotely. With their Ignition for iPhone program, that functionality is extended to your Phone.

To use LogMeIn, you perform a one-time installation on your computer, followed by setting up an account, and testing the connection. Once installed, you download and install the $29.99 LogMeIn Ignition app from the App Store.To access your computer(s), you open the LogMeIn app, enter your account information, and in the next step, you are presented with the computers assigned to your account. This allows you to add one or more computers (home, work, laptop).

Once you are connected to the computer itself, you need to enter the user account of that machine – this may seem like a complicated waste of time, but you need to understand that you are gaining access to everything on your computer. By providing these two levels of authentication, you are keeping your files as safe as possible.

The application works on single and multi-monitor setups, and on my own desktop I use three monitors. Switching between those three screens is extremely simple – you can shake your iPhone to switch, or you can enter the configuration menu and manually pick one.

This screenshot is from the display on my iPhone – you can see the taskbar at the bottom and my desktop in the background. Zooming is done like any other zoom action on your phone (pinch) and you can scroll the screen around.

Selecting things is equally simple – you move your selection under the mouse pointer, and tap. Single taps are single, double taps are double (duh) and two finger taps are right clicks. It all works amazingly well.

The performance obviously depends on the quality of your connection.

When on Wi-Fi, things are blazing, but 3G is still very usable. Once on Edge it can still be used, but you’ll need a lot of patience.

The only minor slowdown is the creation of the screen during the first connection. Other than that, you can scroll and browse around just fine.

Of course, LogMeIn Ignition is no replacement for your iPhone browser or email client, but it is a fantastic way to get at files or emails you left on your PC that you need to access. One added bonus is that you can use LogMeIn Ignition to access your home PC to access Flash based websites, since the iPhone can’t do Flash.

For green conscious users, there is even a way to access your computer when it is in sleep mode – by enabling “Wake On Lan” on your PC, you can configure your computer to turn on when it receives a request from LogMeIn. I did not test this, because my computer is on 24/7 (I run various other servers on it that I like to access on the road).

Travel uses

The travel uses for LogMeIn are endless – you can access files you forgot to copy to your phone, access emails, documents and even edit and create files on your desktop, directly on your iPhone.

I’ve used it several times to email myself a file, and while it obviously takes a little longer than when I’m directly behind my computer, the experience is not bad at all.

Final thoughts

There is no other way to say it – LogMeIn Ignition works absolutely perfectly. Of course, it isn’t for everyone, and if you have no need to ever access files on your computer, the $29.99 investment will be a waste, but if you are like me (and regularly need to access your PC), it can be a lifesaver.

With LogMeIn Ignition on your phone, you can access PC and Mac based machines. The basic version of the LogMeIn service is free – and allows you to connect to your computer using the LogMeIn desktop app, LogMeIn Ignition through your browser or LogMeIn Ignition for the iPhone.

An Android version has been announced, and will be available soon.

The best part of the solution is that you can extend it beyond your iPhone if you want – the browser based version is equally impressive and lets you completely take over your home PC from a remote location.

If you need to add more features, LogMeIn Pro adds file sharing, remote printing, sound sharing and more. LogMeIn Pro is $69.95/year.

You’ll find LogMeIn Ignition for the iPhone in the App Store where it sells for $29.99.