Air Display for Android – Use Your Tablet as a Wireless Secondary Monitor

by Jim Farmer on
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If you’re anything like me, you’re likely on the go a lot. You also carry your mobile laptop, tablet, and phone religiously. Now, my laptop in particular isn’t very large at 11.6″. It’s great for just about anything I want to do, until we start talking in terms of any things. By that I mean it isn’t the best suited for multitasking. The real estate just isn’t quite there. No problem, I’ve got my Xoom with me.

What exactly does that have to do with it you say? Well, my Xoom has a nifty little app called Air Display installed. Air Display lets you use your Android screen as a wireless display, to extend your computer desktop. It’s not quite like the many VNC clients available that mirror your desktop remotely. Rather, it is effectually a wireless secondary monitor, and it is sweet. Also contrary to many of those VNC apps, the mouse responsiveness is actually good, just as good as a true blue monitor, so long as your wireless network can push it.

Programmers, you’ll find great utility in this by throwing your console, terminal, debuggers, etc on the tablet screen while you code. In general the tablet screen makes for an excellent placeholder for all of your tools, be they for programming, music, art , or what have you,  while allowing your larger display more room to create.

It’s more than just a screen extension though.The tablet may also act as an input device while using Air Display. Feel free to make beautiful works of art in Microsoft Paint using your tablet’s touchscreen. Alright so obviously I haven’t found terribly good use for this functionality but no doubt someone will. However, I have really enjoyed this last part: rotation.

Your tablet can extend your PC’s screen in either landscape or portrait, and when you rotate the screen, your windows are automatically repositioned appropriately, just the way it should be. I’ve so far found this to be especially useful for viewing long amounts of text or steps in portrait mode on the Xoom.

The last major aspect of any good app is usability, and I think Air Display has it figured out. For instance, on first launch, Air Display presents easy instructions for downloading and installing the companion support software for your computer. Beyond that one time step, using it is a breeze. Start the app on your tablet and it gives you an IP address. Start the software on your computer and enter the address. Done.

Grab it in Android Market for $9.99

» See more articles by Jim Farmer


  • Tom Carpentier

    Unfortunately this gives problems on my GNex (black screen with only a mouse pointer)
    and setting it up took me a while (due to long laptop reboot times) so i’m no longe eligable for a refund.

    • Anonymous

      They should have really thought of a trial version of some sort. $9 is a lot to fork out then realising it doesn’t work.

      I’d try contacting the developer if I were you. 

    • Dave

      I’ve had this same problem with my Transformer Prime. I’ve contacted the devs and an waiting for an answer. A bit miffed that after forking out £7 it’s not working properly. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one having the problem, though.

    • Anonymous

      Sucks to hear you guys are having trouble with it. It worked just fine on my Xoom running ICS. I hadn’t actually tried to use my Nexus as a secondary monitor until you mentioned it and I too only see the mouse moving on a black screen. The app launched just this week so hopefully updates will begin soon. I would encourage leaving feedback on Android Market describing your troubles so that they may be resolved. 

    • Anonymous

      Downloaded the update today and it now works on my Galaxy Nexus

      B-)

  • Anonymous

    look like idisplay 

  • Wollac11

    Sounds great but no Linux support? :’(

  • Matthew

    I’m assuming from the pics that this one also disables Aero in Windows 7?

    • Dave

      Unfortunately yes.

  • Leadoffdouble

    Would this mirror to multiple android screens?

  • Nicholas Niemeyer

    could i use this from my droid phone to my droid tablet to watch netflix

  • AB

    My company has an Android app. I would like to use this to run my app and share what I am doing with our clients via something like WebEx. Can you see any problem with doing this?