Over the years, we have seen quite a lot of utilities surface for the Android OS, with the majority of them being mobile based, and a select few, desktop based. Developed by Roman Nurik, Android Design Preview is a handy tool for Android, that lets you mirror a portion of your desktop screen onto your mobile device over a USB connection. While we’ve had apps in the past that let you stream your desktop onto an Android device (the likes of Teamviewer), this app’s purpose is much simpler. It is actually meant for developers who want a quick way to see how their apps or themes look on their mobile devices. A beta of the tool is out, and you can check it out, provided you have Java Runtime Environment installed.
Not being able to mirror over Wi-Fi is a definite drawback. That said, the tool is actually made to the point and is more useful for users wanting to take a picture of a portion of their desktop and transferring it to their mobile devices. With this tool, you can simply take a screenshot on your device and you’ll have a picture of your desktop. This can prove to be handy particularly when, as mentioned earlier, you’re developing themes, for instance, and want to see how those would look on a mobile device.
To get started, make sure you have the Java Runtime Environment set up (links to the tool and JRE given at the end of the post). As for your Android device, you need to have ADB installed on your system (see our guide on ADB). Once you have all of this set up, make sure to enable USB Debugging on your device, then connect it to your computer via a USB cable.
Run the downloaded JAR file, and you will see a dialogue box as shown on the right. Wait for a few seconds as the application initializes, and once it does, you will immediately see a portion of your desktop on the mobile device. This means that the connection has been successfully established. As for moving the view to another portion of the screen, simply hit the Select Mirror Region.
Doing so will bring up a window that indicates the area that would be mirrored to your mobile device. The viewing area has the typical 480 x 800 resolution that the screens of most modern day Android devices have. To change the portion you want to mirror, simply click anywhere inside the window and drag it around. Hit Escape or double click to hide the window. The screenshot below shows you how the mirrored portion appears on the screen of the mobile device (when the windows isn’t hidden).
If you’re an Android techie, you should definitely give this awesome tool a try. Feel free to add a few more examples of the tool’s practicality in the comments below.
Download Android Design Preview