Taking screenshots on an Android smartphone is sort of a pain in the behind. One way is to install the developer SDK, connect your phone to a computer via a USB cable, and run a desktop application for grabbing images. The other is to root your phone and install software that lets you access settings normally hidden.
Honestly, I usually use the first method, because I had already gone through the trouble of installing the SDK before I first rooted my phone — and typically I want the images on my PC anyway so I can easily insert them in blog posts. But third party apps like ShootMe certainly make things much simpler — for users who have root access to their phones. ShootMe is a free utility that lets you capture a screenshot of your Android phone and save it on your SD card simply by shaking your phone.
Now the developer has released a new tool called PicMe which is ideal for folks like me who want those screenshots on a desktop instead of tucked away on your phone’s SD card. Here’s how it works. You install PicMe on your phone and a URL will pop up that you can enter into your desktop browser. It’ll probably consist of the local IP address for your WiFi router, plus a unique identifier and a port number.
Once you have that, you can just plug it into you desktop browser and you should see a picture of your phone’s screen. You should also hear a little clicking noise on your phone. Refresh the browser window and it will snap another pictures. You can save these pictures just by right-clicking and downloading or copying them, as you would any images from the web.
While PicMe is an excellent tool for saving screenshots, it also has a “Live” mode, which actually lets you control your phone from the browser. You can tap on icons, scroll through web pages, or perform other actions in your browser, and those actions will be carried out on your phone. Live mode still features slow page refresh times, so don’t get any grand ideas about streaming video from your phone to your desktop browser using PicMe. But the cool factor is definitely high.
PicMe is available as a free download from the Android Market. You’ll need a rooted Android device to use it.