May 27, 2012, 7:54 AM — The power of an Android phone or tablet already makes a desktop PC, or even a laptop, seem a little old-fashioned--but you can enhance your smartphone or tablet even more. Here are six applications that allow you to use your desktop computer to get more functionality, and more fun, from your Android device.
You can complain all you want about the closed nature of Apple's software, but you can't deny that the marriage of iTunes and iOS is as cohesive as it gets. This desktop-mobile connection is missing from the Android experience--until you install DoubleTwist. Once you install this free desktop application, it automatically finds the music, photos, and videos you have stored on your computer (yes, even those in your existing iTunes library) and organizes them for you, letting you browse your collection by artist, album, playlist, and more in its tidy interface. You can sync these multimedia files to and from your Android device via USB.
A companion mobile app lets you play back multimedia files on your Android device; upgrading to the AirSync app ($5) adds wireless syncing.
DoubleTwist offers a complete package if you're looking to sync multimedia files between your phone and your desktop. But if you'd like to sync contacts and more, MobileGo is the desktop app for you. It runs on Windows PCs only and costs $40 for the full version, which is a bit much when you consider that both iTunes and DoubleTwist are free. (The free demo version of MobileGo allows basic syncing between your Android device and your Windows PC.)
Shelling out those (relatively) big bucks for the full version adds some useful features, such as the ability to sync Outlook contacts to your phone, plus the ability to convert audio and video files into Android-supported formats before transferring them to your mobile device. If you have a collection of multimedia files amassed from various sources, this conversion feature will soon prove indispensable when you wish to make those files mobile-friendly.