CirrusManager for Android is a Google App Engine powered web app that, in combination with a mobile client, gives you remote control over multiple Android devices through a user-defined Google account. The app lets you monitor device status, location, call and SMS logs, running apps and activities, system logs, allows SMS composing and forwarding to mail, viewing and adding bookmarks and contacts, recording audio and more right from the comfort of your computer through an extremely well-crafted user interface. How does it compare to the previously reviewed AndroidLost? Join us after the break to find out.
While AndroidLost sports a few very handy features that CirrusManager doesn’t (control via SMS commands from an authorized phone number, SD card wipe, GPS/WiFi toggling etc.), it is outdone by the latter in all other aspects. CirrusManager lets you connect, control and monitor more than one Android device at a time, comes packed with a greater variety of controls and a more flexible, password protectable mobile client. And the user interface is like icing on the cake. The smooth, efficient and interface of the web app puts AndroidLost’s minimalistic UI to shame.
CirrusManager has been in beta for a little under a month (as of this writing). The current version seems quite stable. We test-ran the app on multiple devices and, barring the few instances where the mobile client became unresponsive during a manual status update, couldn’t find any bugs or faulty features.
The setup is quite simple. Install the mobile client from the Android Market. At first launch, the app takes you through some configuration screens, asking you to select the Google account that you wish to register and the features for which you wish to allow remote monitoring and control. You can set monitoring and control permissions later from the client’s homescreen as well. To change the registered Google account, however, you’ll have to clear the app’s data (Device Settings > Applications > Manage applications > CirrusManager > Clear data). Once the client is connected, you must disconnect it from Menu > Settings > Disconnect to uninstall it from your device.
You can set an interval of your choice between successive device status updates or disable automatic updates entirely via the Update interval option on the clients homescreen. You can also manually send device updates to the web app by tapping Send manually. With an update interval defined (automatic updates enabled), you can lock the client with a password of your choice to “prevent unauthorized changes to settings” (Lock Settings > Lock App, then Lock Password). Said feature is particularly useful for instances where your phone gets misplaced.
Now, on to the web interface. Once you have logged into CirrusManager with the Google account that you registered using the mobile client, you can begin monitoring and controlling your device(s). As mentioned earlier, you can register more than one device with a Google account at time. You can then switch between them from the Device List as shown in the screenshot below.
The interface is divided into 12 tabs aligned to the left side of the page. Control and monitoring options are displayed in the toolbar just below the tab title. If you find yourself wondering what a certain feature does, simply click on the Help button on the extreme right of the toolbar to view descriptions for all the features/options in the selected tab.
The Home tab shows Storage, Memory and Battery status of the selected device, and lets you sound an alarm on your device for a defined interval of time, mute/unmute your device or send a message in the form of a status bar notification. The Security tab allows you to wipe user data, turn on your device’s screen, set an unlock password or enable a secondary lock on your device accompanied with a custom message. The last of the aforementioned is again, particularly useful for misplaced devices. You can set your office or home address as the custom message and hope that your device lands in the hands of an honest fellow.
The Location tab lets you monitor the location of all your connected devices on one map.
The Recordings tab lets you remotely initiate audio recording on the selected device for a defined interval of time. You can then download or stream the recorded audio.
The Bookmarks tab lets you view existing bookmarks and add new ones. From within the Calls tab, you can view the complete log of incoming, outgoing and missed calls and remotely order your device to call a phone number of your choice.
The Contacts tab allows you to view/delete existing contacts and add new ones, complete with multiple phone numbers and email addresses.
The Messages tab displays the selected device’s incoming, outgoing and undelivered SMS, lets you order send an SMS from your device or set the client to forward all incoming SMS to the affiliated Gmail account. The mobile client syncs your contacts with the web app, so when you begin entering a number in the Send SMS dialog, it provides you with suggestions from the contacts saved on the selected device. However, oddly enough, the same suggestions do not appear in the Call Number feature.
The Apps tab displays a list of all (user and system) apps, complete with package and version name, while the Processes tab houses a remote task manager for the selected Android device (screenshot below).
You can view detailed device info from within the Info tab. The Logs tab displays a logs for system debug (logcat) and kernel messages (dmesg).
Phew! As you can see, CirrusManager isn’t just a remote access solution for misplaced Android phones. It’s a complete remote control and monitoring suite aimed at providing you with fast and efficient control and monitoring of multiple Android devices right on your computer. We could’ve given a brief overview of CirrusManager, but one look at the amount of features it offers (and the way it presents them) convinced us to put a little extra effort into the review. If you’re looking for a quick walkthrough, you may view the video below.
You can grab the app for free from the Android Market via the provided links.
Download CirrusManager Visit CirrusManager
Update: The web service and the app has been discontinued. Apart from AndroidLost as mentioned in the review, you can also try Sophos Mobile Security.