One difference between Android and iOS is that you don’t need to “hack” your device to be able to use a mouse. See what I did there? I cleverly hinted at the fact that you can use a mouse in iOS if you just jailbreak your device. In Android, you don’t have to root it or anything though – at least not with most versions of it. This is how the Asus Transformer and Transformer Prime tablets can have keyboard docks with trackpads, while the only such thing for the iPad is still “in development” half a year after I pointed out the unlikeliness of it being a real product due to the limitations of stock iOS (sometimes I just hate being right). Naturally, when I got my first Honeycomb tablet to call my own yesterday, I had to give it a try. I dug out my Logitech m555b from the pile of accessories it was in and paired it. Sure enough, a dark little Android-styled cursor popped up on screen and happily started chasing icons around as I moved the mouse. Aside from some intermittent lagg (which might be Bluetooth’s fault, as Bluetooth mice never worked well on anything) it’s a perfectly functional solution.
I also paired my Apple Bluetooth keyboard with my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and both played well together in Android 3.2. I then went to the Market and downloaded Splashtop HD which I love on my iPad. Having a mouse is nice when you’re remote controlling a computer, so it really isn’t too big of a surprise that the Transformer comes with Splashtop preinstalled. I wasn’t too happy about the price though. They list $20 as the regular price and the current $10 as a discounted price, however on iOS the iPad version is now $3 with the same $20 original price reasoning and it was only $5 when I first reviewed the app. I’m starting to think that Splashtop’s success has gotten to it and that it’s now a moneymoneyMOREMONEYNOW-business like everything else. Which is understandable, but a mistake in my opinion, as the low entry price is why it’s such a no-brainer app to get. I confronted them about it on Twitter and they blamed different OSes, development costs etc and that they’re still the cheapest. That’s true, and the app is awesome, but still…
Anyways, the bigger problem here is that the app simply doesn’t work. It starts, finds my computer, and connects, but the image is all messed up (see screenshot). I’ve tweeted them about it and am awaiting a response before I start poking at Android’s refund policies. I’ve recently had a discussion with some people who complain that people are wrong in stating that device fragmentation affects app compatibility, and, well, I wish I could say that this is the first I’ve seen of the issue since I got the device 26 hours ago. Believe me, I wish they were right – that would have been just epic – but sometimes you have to admit that water is wet when you’re swimming in it.
I do hope that there’s a simple solution to the problem, as I really want to try Splashtop with a mouse. Still though, I have a 1024 x 600 device, so unless you have a graphics card that can easily be set to that resolution (it’s not standard, and actually too low for proper normal Windows operations, but netbooks use it) you will have to zoom and scroll around. Splashtop is a lot more useful on an iPad or 1280 x 800 (+) Android tablets where you can run the remote controlled OS 1:1 with the screen resolution.
As for other uses for a mouse, I’m sure there are plenty. It certainly is easier than reaching to touch the screen if you’re in office apps and are typing on an external keyboard or something like that. Browsing the web is another use for it, and since it even supports scroll wheels, it might improve that experience for you if you’re still a mouse fan.