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Old March 21st, 2010, 12:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Turn Phone Into USB Keyboard

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to make a request to you developers. I was wondering if it would be possible to make an app that will turn the phone into a USB keyboard. Meaning, if I plug in my phone into say a computer or similar device, I can type using the phone.

The main reason for this would be to use in a situation were you don't have access to a physical keyboard to plug into a device to type (which is the situation right now). I am sure the device might have to be rooted, which is no problem.

Let me know what you guys think and if it can be done.

Thanks!
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Old March 21st, 2010, 12:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmm, nice idea. I may try, but not sure how I would approach it. May just let a root application developer do this one.

~Vmkice
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default an idea

I was thinking about releasing this type of 'phone is a keyboard' thing, but wasn't sure if it would be useful. I have been working on this project lately: android-pcbcr - Project Hosting on Google Code. The idea of it is that the phone scans a barcode and sends the data over the network to the PC where the keystrokes are then simulated. So if sending the data over a network to the PC is acceptable instead of plugging in a USB cable, then it wouldn't take too much effort to adapt the code to send the keystrokes from the phone instead of the barcode data. It wouldn't require root access on the phone. What do you think? Your USB idea is more flexible (don't need to have network access), but I wouldn't know how to do that at the moment.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey everyone,

Thanks for the replies, I am glad to know you developers find this idea to be handy also. bdrehmer, it seems like you have the right foundation/idea for the application. I believe this app itself would have many uses for a lot of people. Maybe you and Vmkice can split the workload???

I am not much of a developer at all, but I was thinking about a way to get the computer to recognize the android phone as a keyboard. Would it be possible to somehow "simulate" a standard generic keyboard so that most any computer type device can pick it up without needing any special software. My idea was you open up the app on your phone, then there would be a checkbox that would say something like "enable keyboard emulation". The user checks the box and then the computer would detect a generic xxx key keyboard.

This is sort of along the lines of the way the ADB "debugging" mode works when you click the checkbox in the settings/applications menu. When you check the box, windows or the OS detects the ADB device and installs the appropriate drivers.

Regardless, I hope to see what progress you guys can make of it. Again, thanks for all the replies so far.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Forgot to mention, the network idea wouldn't be bad also. You could possibly have both features and if the user wants to use the keyboard over the network all he would have to do is install the appropriate software like you already have...
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Old March 21st, 2010, 06:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default sounds good

I'll volunteer to do the data over network part. I think that probably it is possible to do over USB too, but I don't really think I want to get into that myself (aside: maybe the adb or USB tethering code could shed some insight on how to do this?). Like you say, maybe the app could have the option of choosing which mode to use, USB or WiFi. If somebody wants to join the project and work on the USB part that'd be great.

Project home will be here:
android-pckbd - Project Hosting on Google Code
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Old July 27th, 2010, 12:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default I may be interested

I may begin developing an app soon that sends keystrokes over USB to a computer as a generic keyboard. The only problem is, I can't find anything online about how to make the phone emulate a keyboard... Not sure if it's even possible. So if anyone can find even the smallest ray of light in that direction, I would be very grateful and would gladly put something together to accommodate jjcobm's request.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Holy thread resurrection, Batman!
Sorry to bring up such an old post, but I haven't seen anything else pertaining to this as it is exactly what I am looking for.

I have a carPC. Right now I stash a small usb keyboard in my console, but it would be so much better to use my phone as a usb keyboard. I already plug it in when I get in my car for charging and tethering, so sending keystrokes over USB would be invaluable to me. Although not a developer myself, I would love to help any way possible to contribute back.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 07:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My guess is that implementing a Bluetooth keyboard would be easier and more useful. Either way, it will probably require a rooted phone.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 01:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This would be a great app for me as a field engineer traveling to ships to work on touchscreen monitors. I would pay for this!
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Old December 24th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default shortcut keyboard app

I just found this thread looking for something similar. I would like an app that acts like a USB keyboard 'device', but with customizable buttons that issues various keyboard combinations or keystrokes with a single press. So a button could issue a 'Ctrl-Z', another button would do a 'Ctrl-Alt-C', or whatever you configure. Additionally, it might be desirable to have a type of button that latches in with one press, i.e., holds the key-stroke or combo ON, and then another press, unlatches it.

I'm sure gamers might love to have this sitting beside their regular keyboard, but I'm thinking of using it with art programs, where either I'm holding a graphic pen tablet in front of me and would like a little keyboard device for my left hand, OR when I'm sketching on a keyboardless tablet PC, having a small little keyboard-shortcut device plugged in would be awesome.

Jay
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Old January 12th, 2011, 12:58 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaycephus View Post
I just found this thread looking for something similar. I would like an app that acts like a USB keyboard 'device', but with customizable buttons that issues various keyboard combinations or keystrokes with a single press. So a button could issue a 'Ctrl-Z', another button would do a 'Ctrl-Alt-C', or whatever you configure. Additionally, it might be desirable to have a type of button that latches in with one press, i.e., holds the key-stroke or combo ON, and then another press, unlatches it.

I'm sure gamers might love to have this sitting beside their regular keyboard, but I'm thinking of using it with art programs, where either I'm holding a graphic pen tablet in front of me and would like a little keyboard device for my left hand, OR when I'm sketching on a keyboardless tablet PC, having a small little keyboard-shortcut device plugged in would be awesome.

Jay
This is exactly what I need as well. Just got my tablet pc and am looking to Ctrl+Z with the touch of a touchscreen.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 07:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
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*first post*
It has been done and it was presented at Black Hat DC
Fake keyboard: PCs hacked with custom Android USB drivers
There it is used to "type" some evil but it's still acting as a usb keyboard/mouse.
But I can't find any info on how.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 12:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'd pay $10 without even thinking about it for a customizable keyboard shortcut app. The only problem would be that you would probably lose wired-USB tether capability in keyboard mode, thus using the phone as your internet connection for the PC while playing a MMORPG and trying to use the phone in USB-keyboard mode all at the same time is probably not doable, though wireless tether could still work in that situation.

Jay
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 12:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightShadow02 View Post
This is exactly what I need as well. Just got my tablet pc and am looking to Ctrl+Z with the touch of a touchscreen.
I've got a middle-click custom pop-up working with my tablet PC using an Auto-Hotkey (AHK) script available here:
RADIAL MENU scripts

Note that with my tablet PC, I bought a Wacom 2-button pen to use instead of the included 1-button pen, just so I could keep the right-click functionality, and use the 2nd button for middle click to use with this pop-up radial menu script.

Jay
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 01:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odin Zifer View Post
*first post*
It has been done and it was presented at Black Hat DC
Fake keyboard: PCs hacked with custom Android USB drivers
There it is used to "type" some evil but it's still acting as a usb keyboard/mouse.
But I can't find any info on how.

I wrote to the senior author asking him to release the source code. He said they will release it next week.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Has there been any new development. This exactly what I was looking for.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 08:20 PM   #18 (permalink)
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http://itap-mobile.com/android/touchpad

iTap mobile for android has has a keyboard that does this over the network.

Quote:
iTap Touchpad turns your Android device into a WiFi-enabled touchpad and keyboard for your PC or your Mac.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 09:23 AM   #19 (permalink)
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jae_63

have you heard anything yet ? I would love to see the source for this, I was reading through the documentation they had (the slide show and the report) it looks like they had to put a custom rom on there phone to make this work (everything seemed to be in the bootimage). I don't know if you looked at that stuff but doesn't sound that way to you ?

If that is the case it doesn't seem like you could make an app (root or not) you would have to create a complete custom rom to get this working ?
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Old March 21st, 2011, 09:49 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I wrote again to Prof. Stavrou on March 16th after seeing almack64's post, but he hasn't responded yet. I will post back here if I hear from him.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:40 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I'd be interested in further developements with regards to this - i've been searching for a bluetooth keyboard thats compatible with the PS3 for ages, then it just dawned on me to look for a USB option last night!
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Old April 7th, 2011, 07:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjcobm View Post
Forgot to mention, the network idea wouldn't be bad also. You could possibly have both features and if the user wants to use the keyboard over the network all he would have to do is install the appropriate software like you already have...
There are a few networked remotes out there. In fact I plan on adding a new one in about a week or two. Since mine isn't out yet I'll recommend GMote.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Please make this app. Having the ability to turn my android phone into a bluetooth keyboard that i'd be able to use with my xoom would be great.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 03:09 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Any updates for the project. I'm looking as well to use my phone as PC USB Keyboard. We carry our phones with us all the time but carrying USB keyboard is always a problem.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 06:18 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Suggested feature

Hi,

I think a good app would be a Universal "Adaptor" with following options:

USB <-> *
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> WiFi Card.(compatible with Ethereal and Aircrack-ng)
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> 3G Modem.
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Bluetooth Dongle
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> WebCam (with Mic)
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> SoundCard (to use with skype as a usb phone)
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Mosue (using accelerometer and buttons)
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Keyboard
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> QRCode/Barcode Reader
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Voice Decoding Mic (translates voice to keystrokes).
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Joystick/Joypad.
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> uSD CardReader (I believe it is done automatically).
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> FM Tunner
- Make your phone behave as a USB <-> GPS

(I think it is important requiere not additional drivers, and use standard ones as possible). If drivers/program is required program should first populate as USB MassStorage device and provide them (if required dewloading from internet).


Bluetooth <-> *
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> SoundCard (to use with skype as a BT phone)
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Mosue (using accelerometer and buttons)
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Keyboard
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Mosue (using accelerometer and buttons)
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Keyboard
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Barcode Reader
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Voice Decoding Mic (translates voice to keystrokes).
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Joystick/Joypad.(Like WiiMote, but for PC).
- Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> GPS

Wifi <-> *
- Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> WebCam
- Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> 3G Router (to share internet).
- Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> Sound Card (DLNA).
- Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> Security Cam (take photo when image changes or periodically, and sending via email or uploading to ftp).
- Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> WebCam (DLNA).


And maybe there are much more possibilities (using USB Host mode on tablets).

There are many apps that implement one of this features, but having one that implements all of them would be great!!


I add my email address, I can be beta tester alyenz_at_gmail_com

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Old February 25th, 2012, 03:50 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Im looking for an app like this too, im looking to plug my phone into my wii system so i can input text for cheats/hacking etc. I dont have a usb keyboard.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 11:45 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Hardware Solution to USB Mouse/Keyboard

I have wanted something like this for a disabled person I take care of. At home she can use the WiFi, or BT methods, but at University she cannot access the lab computers.

I have conseptualized a method where there is a hardware step between the Android and PC made up of an arduino to act as a USB device, and a shield with another USB port to take input from the Android. While this is not ideal, the total price could be kept under $50, and be 100% open hardware and software. Unfortionatly I have no background building and coding these boards, so I am left with an idea that has no outlet. If there is anyone with experience with this kind of hardware building, I can share more of what I have figured out, I would love to make this happen for everyone.

Take Care,
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Old August 11th, 2012, 12:27 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Default I want this...

I would love not to have to keep a wired keyboard around just for the soul purpose of using it to reconnect my bluetooth keyboard when it gives out...please. Anyone that can make this happen. I will give you money.
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Old August 11th, 2012, 08:22 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Too bad we can't find a service that lets us all make contributions to a secure fund, until we have enough to rent a coder, and then opensource the resulting code.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 11:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_D1 View Post
I'd be interested in further developements with regards to this - i've been searching for a bluetooth keyboard thats compatible with the PS3 for ages, then it just dawned on me to look for a USB option last night!

androhid - Bluetooth HID implementation for android - Google Project Hosting
Could work
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Old January 24th, 2013, 08:47 AM   #31 (permalink)
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If you are interested in using Android phone as a USB device (keyboard, mouse, gamepad etc), take a look my project.

General idea:
InputStick is a small, wireless (Bluetooth) USB device that basically acts as a middle man between smartphone and USB host (similar concept to what OIK2 has described in his post): InputStick handles USB protocol, while application on smartphone takes care of logic/user interaction. I work on a library that allows to implement different kinds of USB devices in Android applications, for example you can add USB keyboard functionality to a password manager application so it can type passwords for you. To use InputStick there is no need to root your phone, you only need Bluetooth, so I guess it should be able to work with anything >Eclair.

Here's a post with video, where I use my phone as a USB keyboard/mouse

Let me know what do you think about my project
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Old January 24th, 2013, 12:05 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: Turn Phone Into USB Keyboard

It is very cool. My initial thought was to make it a KickStarter project ... but there are clearly pros and cons.

Have you given any thought as to whether you will try to market this, and if so how and at what price? I think that there would be a market for it around $20.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 01:48 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Well, it's just a prototype, at this moment I'm mainly focusing on improving Android library and demo apps (password manager, barcode scanner etc). Some people I know have been asking me if they can get one, so some time soon I will order components for a few more units.

As for price, everything depends on a scale of production. Prototype cost me about $50 and one hour to solder/assemble, but I guess that for, lets say >1000 units it should be possible to go down with price to $20.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 01:58 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: Turn Phone Into USB Keyboard

Could the same device be made compatible with iOS devices? That would increase marketability.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 02:12 PM   #35 (permalink)
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This one will not work with iPhone (although jailbreak should help), because of used Bluetooth 2.1 module. Solution would be to use still relatively new Bluetooth 4.0, but this time it will not work with most of older Android devices. I think that best way out of this would be to make two versions of the device.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 08:37 AM   #36 (permalink)
 
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Nice thread. Starts from the ideas and ends up with real programs.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 06:41 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I do side work on touch screen register terminal POS systems in restaurants and I hate carrying a keyboard in my car for the few command line items I must type. An app that would run and simulate a usb keyboard and then connect the phone to the computer via usb would help me out a lot. Is there any apps that could do this?

Most of the terminals I work on are Windows XP based so being able to emulate a generic usb keyboard would be the best solution. I have seen the wifi keyboards but you have to install a program on the pc you would like to control. Same thing with bluetooth, you would have to install a bluetooth driver on the pc you are going to control.

TIA
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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:00 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Take a look at my projects webpage: InputStick. I think you'll be most likely interested in Remote Control app or Macros app. It requires additional piece of hardware (InputStick), but that allows you to solve WiFI/Bluetooth/drivers/software issues, since InputStick will be visible in the system as a generic USB keyboard.

It's been a long time since I've last posted here. At this moment, InputStick is being really close to finally being released.
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 07:45 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I've been working on this project for over a year now, many things turned out to be more difficult/time consuming that I initially assumed, but finally it's almost ready. In February/March InputStick will go into small scale production. Anyone who is interested in this project and would like to support it, can make a pre-order via Indiegogo: InputStick Indiegogo Campaign all the details are there. If you would like to know more, please take a look at my webpage (inputstick.com)
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 10:22 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Unified Remote is a very similar app but this only works over wifi. There's another app called Wifi keyboard but IIRC it works the other way round - using your PC's keyboard to type on your phone.

I'm very interested to see how this project develops, good luck!
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