PAW Server is nominally an app that lets you use your Android phone as a web server. But while that sounds kind of geeky and generally like something that you’d never use, here’s the upshot: You can use PAW Server to control your phone from a desktop web browser by making calls, sending text messages, launching apps, or even backing up installer files for your apps.

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Here’s how it works. First you install the PAW Server app on your Android phone. It doesn’t matter if your device is rooted or not. Then you fire up the PAW Server and it will give you a unique URL to enter in your web browser — probably an address on your home network. Enter that URL in your web browser, and you get a new screen with a ton of options.

Under the Phone tab, you can dial a number, view a call log, or find your phone by pressing a button to play a ringtone. This might not help if you lost your phone in the back seat of a cab, but if it’s stuck between the couch cushions that should help a bit.

The Media tab lets you view or download files from your phone, view images, change the wallpaper, or even use the webcam to capture live images 9although this feature really doesn’t work all that well).

Probably one of the most useful functions it the APK Backup tool under the System tab, which allows you to save and download the installer file for virtually any app installed on your phone directly to your desktop computer. This even works on protected apps like the NYTimes reader app.

PAW Server is still technically beta software, so you might experience some bugs. But overall it’s a very impressive app for managing Android devices.

PAW Server is available as a free download from the Android Market.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

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