2014-01-29

Level Up - Android: How To Connected a Full-Sized Keyboard to Android Device?

In this post, I will walk you through connecting a computer keyboard to an Android phone or tablet, via WiFi (or USB cable).

Estimated time of completion: About five to ten minutes the first time, and less than minute after your first run through.

Why is this useful?
There are many great apps on smartphones, but some people find it much more comfortable to use a full-sized keyboard for typing, especially for long periods of time. After going through this post, you will be able to use your computer keyboard like an advanced user:
1. For text messages (SMS), WhatsApp, and any other app with an input field.
2. You will be able to copy&paste text.
3. Speeddial. You can set the function keys on keyboard to open any app on the phone.
and more..


You will need:
- A Telnet program, like PuTTY
- A app on your device, called "Remote Keyboard" created by Onyxbits.
- A WiFi connection


Step 1: Download app to your Android device
1.1. Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.onyxbits.remotekeyboard
1.2. When you open the app, it should look something like the following. Note the host address on there, it will be different for you.
1.3. Click the "Select Keyboard" button on the Action Bar, at the top of the screen and choose "Remote Keyboard"
Remote Keyboard, Android app


Step 2: Download PuTTY to your computer
2.1. Link: http://www.putty.org/
2.2. When you open PuTTY, change your configurations in three different places: Host, Port, and Connection type. You will get the port number and host address from the Remote Keyboard app. The connection type should be set to Telnet.
2.3. Click Open.
How to set up a Telnet connection


Step 3: Connect to device via Telnet on the computer
3.1. You should now see a window that looks like the following. And, you when you type into this window, key presses will go straight to your device rather than showing up on this window. Just click on any input field on Android to have the key presses sent there.

A Telnet connection to an Android smartphone.


Notes:
- For step 3, if you only see a blank screen, then wait a little longer for the connection. Then, possibly try sending a few keystrokes into the window and the Enter key.
- Windows does have a Telnet client, but I didn't get it to work. Using PuTTY was much simpler.
- Telnet connections are not secure. Each input is sent unencrypted.
- To connect more securely over USB, here are some instructions.

~ Danial Goodwin ~



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