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Use Your Symbian Phone as a Remote

written by: Karishma Sundaram•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/3/2011

This article discusses the possibility of turning a Symbian mobile phone into a remote control for the PC or for other devices.

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    Quite a few of the older phone models and many of the newer models of mobile phone handsets that have been released have an infrared port. While the infrared technology was once one of the very few means of transferring signals within a certain proximity, the technology is no longer applicable in today’s context. However, some phone models still have the port.

    While searching the Internet for interesting applications for the Symbian platform, I came across a software application for turning my mobile phone handset into a remote control. A more extensive search revealed that there are many software applications for doing just that.


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    Controlling a PC

    Mostly these software applications fell into two distinct categories: the first category had the applications that could control the television, while the second category consisted of applications that could remotely control a personal computer. Some software applications could actually carry out both functions, much like a master remote can control televisions, DVD players and music systems from the same remote.

    Controlling a personal computer from a remote location has some interesting connotations, like manipulating Winamp from a distance. There are a number of software applications that claim to be able to do this; some of these are:

    1. ControlFreak – designed for S60 smart phones,

    2. Remotud – which can handle quite a few multimedia players, and is configurable to a great extent

    3. anyRemote – an excellent software application, which however runs on Linux personal computers; however it can control any application running on that particular computer

    Of all the above, Remotud is the one that delivers exactly what it claims to do, which is control music and video players accurately.

    Surprisingly, there was also a software application that does the exact opposite, which is control a mobile phone from the computer. Smart Remote Series 60 can carry out any functions that are present on the mobile phone handset, including messaging or controlled the GPRS or camera. A useful function of Smart Remote is the ability to capture screenshots of the mobile display which was hitherto more complicated.

    However, it is unclear why this application is useful, as Nokia PC Suite performs pretty much the same functions.

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    Controlling a television

    The other category of remote software applications was the one that controls the entertainment units. The one by Psiloc, called Infrared Remote Control, promises a great deal in terms of features but doesn’t deliver at all. It claims to be compatible with a whole host of different brands, in addition to be able to control multiple devices from just one application. However, even when the infrared is aligned perfectly with the receiver on the television, it fails to accomplish anything.

    Unfortunately Psiloc’s software application was the only one I could find, and it left much to be desired in terms of functionality. The utility of such an application is also somewhat in doubt although it may prove to be handy when the television remote is lost.