Android Smartphone Integration

Hello All ! … I would very much like to see SCRCPY integrated in the UB distro.
SCRCPY is a very cool application that may allow ANDROID smartphone mirroring on your desktop screen. Must admit its a bit tweaky, but once you’ve got it right, I find it to be a very handy feature.
More details about SCRCPY here : GitHub - Genymobile/scrcpy: Display and control your Android device.
If any other similar solutions exist, please share.

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Hi and welcome.

I would like to see a number of use-cases here to make such a decision. What areas of a desktop usage are we trying to solve by including software x, y or z? How does scrcpy solve these use-cases.

For example I’ve seen other linux distros include anbox - again not sure what this integration effort will help solve.

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I would say similar use cases to KDE Connect. Maybe some more since it’s a bit reversed here.

Transfering files from one device to another without plugging a cable (and hoping mtp will not disconnect during the transfer).
Seeing Notifications instead of looking at your phone constantly.
Copy-paste between devices (I’ve wanted to do that several times).
Record your Android screen.

For KDE Connect, it’s also a very handy remote to VLC or SMPlayer when you’re in the couch, further away from your mouse and keyboard.

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Hi ! Thanx. Agreed on your point of view, all correct observations.
I find scrcpy somehow useful in these simple mirroring scenarios :

  1. Can simply monitor an attached smartphone that could be in charging mode not near to my workstation and therefore our of reach. See messages or important notifications that may require user action.
    2 Can record a short clip on how to do something on smartphone and share clip with others for tutoring purposes.
  2. Mirroring an attached smartphone on a much larger screen for various other needs.
  3. Because you can :slight_smile:

On the other hand KDE Connect, GS Connect or even Sweech (url based browser app) are perhaps better tools if you need to share any files/items with a connected smartphone, but these have a different scope and dont seem to be UB specific.
I wish UB could have it’s own UB Connect default tool for the purpose.

Hi. Yup ! … I found KDE connect not very stable and with glitches on UB. Tons of KDE libraries needed too. Never though of remote control … cool !

A “Budgie Connect” is certainly something I would be interested as well! Just a question of finding a budding developer (or two) to make it a reality.

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E.g. This project looks very promising but development looks to have stopped. So its a good starting point probably - according to the README quite a bit of stuff should work already (hopefully)

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Thnx … I’ll look into this asap. Mmm… not bad. Looks very much like KDE connect and GS connect blended together and on EOS it looks even better.
Need those developers to step in !

I don’t see how 90% of consumers would benefit from mirroring their Android screen on their desktop with scrcpy. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad it’s possible! But don’t think that needs to be build into an OS.

Just generic text, url, file sharing is enough for me…
URL: Firefox is Budgies default browser, it already allows you to send url to your device, very user friendly, doesn’t get any easier than that…
File: not really a big deal, use your file cloud provider, Budgie already allows integration. Personally I run my own cloud, FileRun (a lightweight NextCloud alternative).
Text: could be handy, I wish the little notes applet in the Panel would work well (you can’t even copy paste with the mouse) and sync to phone.

I used to have a big need for integration of notifications. Come to think of it, I don’t even know why that would be useful, having notifications popup on multiple devices. We are overloaded with notifications already…

In short: I don’t have a big need for it anymore. But curious to read others usecases.

CTRL+C to copy text from the quicknote applet

Yes, but in online environments sometimes only copy/paste with the mouse works… so you can’t always use it.

Agreed. ITMW my workaround on this aspect is by using Google Keep. Must say you are bound to a Google account and this may not be everyone’s piece of cake, but it works fine and you can share your notes with other accounts.

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Exactly, also use Keep.
That’s why I would suggest expanding the functionality of the Notes applet, perhaps allowing multiple notes files, so you can switch and store each in a separate folder, for example the folder that is synced by your cloud provider.

I’ve never thought about using Keep for this purpose, which is weird since I have a Keep widget in one of my home screens (Android) because I use it often.
Now, on the computer side, there’s no Keep app for Linux, although there might be a wrapper or a web app (I’m not aware of any though). I’s not as straightforward as a direct copy-paste in an applet.

Same goes with sharing files through the cloud (Google Drive for many people I guess), on the computer side it is easy through Gnome Online accounts (but does it work under Budgie?) and on Android the app.
Still is much less straight forward than through GSConnect/KDE Connect though for example, where it’s a 5 seconds matter in the Linux–>Android direction. The reverse is slightly more tricky though.

I’d definitely use a Budgie applet connected with KDE Connect on Android.
Actually, it is one of the reasons left (but going down) why I can’t use Budgie as my daily driver compared to Gnome. I’m using this regularly (constant notifications from my phone and file sharing).
I’m no developer unfortunately, but I would make the developer’s time worth it by using it. :grinning:

What I’ll do in the next few days is attempt to compile “Conecto” (link above) - if it compiles I’ll create a test PPA for you to try out to see if the file sharing and notifications stuff (plus others) is usable.

Watch this space…

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Hi !
Google Keep : if you use google-chrome on UB and hit the google-boxed icon (small coloured squares - show apps) on bookmark bar, you will be presented a web page with large google app icons you use the most … if you Right-click on anyone of them and select “create shortcut” … you will end up with a wrapper on your desktop. I don’t use other browsers so I don’t know if it works elsewhere. Hope this helps.

Google Drive : I don’t use google drive much being scared of sync and what if your backup files get corrupted further to heavy on-line traffic. I prefer local storage with all the pros and cons implied. However I do admit google drive is super useful. The issue is syncing and network performance.

To my experience you can install KDE Connect on UB (and bloat it with KDE libraries). You may also find on google play store the same app for android smartphones too that must be installed. However I find that KDE Connect is not very stable :slightly_frowning_face: so I dropped using it (unfortunately).

I was impressed by SWEECH app (see play store). Launch it on your smartphone and can browse from desktop through URL on relevant file system. Simply follow instructions and a file manager pops-up. (A must have for me)

I’m no developer myself, just an UB enthusiast.

Interesting. Is that Evolution OS (screenshots) ?

I don’t use Chrome on my personal computers. It’s my least favorite browser among all. Unfortunately I have no choice but to use it at a professional level. But I deactivate the bookmarks bar 1st thing as it’s a vertical waste of space and I find it absolutely ugly. Even Edge (as a better Chrome than Chrome) has implemented a favorite button (like the bookmarks button in Firefox). But I digress.

A wrapper is a workaround (even more when relying on Google services), not a clean solution.

I’ve used Google Drive ever since the much lamented Ubuntu One was dropped. It’s not anywhere near as good as Ubuntu One, but I’ve never lost anything. And it’s also a workaround while waiting for a cleaner solution.

I’ll look into Sweech, thanks!

Adding the whole shebang of KDE libraries is not something I’d like to do (GSConnect doesn’t since it’s an extension).
I’ve been using KDE Connect since the very beginning (5-6 years ago) with the KDE Connect desktop app (and later the GSConnect extension) and it’s been working beautifully for me.
I would advise to turn it off when bringing a date home while still being active on dating apps though.
I’ve had notifications of new messages while watching pictures or listening to music together. Not the best impression. :joy:

Mmm…being by default dependent to any cloud provider to achieve some mobile-phone integration into Budgie sounds a bit awkward to me. It’s indeed how Google / Apple want us to use their products.
I’d rather have tools that turn those devices a bit more into my device, sort of.

Syncthing will help sync’ing a folder ( or many ) between a phone and a computer ( notes, music, pictures, anything… ) Some web-browsers help sharing web-related things from a common account - again granted you’re ok to create an account in ( be it Firefox, or Google, or else ).

I’d say what’s missing are tools to easily share things between devices - without needing a cloud-thing service. Or tools to easily set up such a cloud-thing at home, one just for yourself, with only your own data, on machines you know and own and control.

Some wizard to quickly and reliably set-up FileRun/Nextcloud ?
Those help share contacts, agendas … and files.

With same idea in mind, there is also a lack of other sharing tools in ×buntu :
⋅ there used to be an easy but complete GUI for samba, system-config-samba - no longer works,
⋅ there are attempts to some GUI for setting NFS shares but a bit of a hit or miss…

What’s my point here ? Once in ×buntu, sharing things with other devices ( Android/iStuff ) or other computers ( ×buntu, windows, others ) is of course doable but will require CLI and much knowledge ( about network, web, servers… )

In such a connected world as nowadays it’s quite surprising there is no « one big » native tool to help with that : I have data on my computers and phones and tablets, how ×buntu can help me manage all these as a whole ?

Ok it’s a bit different from « phone » integration but not so far - behind it’s often a matter of data to share between devices. And maybe that’s the lacking point in Linux on desktop ( compared to proprietary offers ) : integration of data throughout the whole desktop UI/UX.

All imaginable tools seem to exist separately. But is there a distro that comes with a whole desktop and a Nextcloud automatically set up ? See, you install that distro and the non hidden data of the many /home/$USER folders are automatically « online » and ready for sharing with other devices ?

I’d be happy to send and receive SMS from my phone « through » my ×buntu desktop though.

Sadly Conecto is very much work-in-progress. The master branch is very broken.

The new_ui branch is more promising. It does not though have file sharing. Battery display works. Remote cursor works. Remote Input works. Notifications work. SMS doesnt work.