Application Name: Wireless File Transfer Lite
Description: Lets you copy data files to and from your Android unit using a wireless connection and browser interface.
Publisher’s website: Lextel
Version/date reviewed: v. 0.4.2a / 3-8-11
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
Android Market (mobile app only)
Android Market (browser)
If you use your Android phone regularly as a map tool, or to record data, you’ll likely need to regularly transfer data to your Android (like map files), or from your Android (photos, waypoints, tracks, etc.). This can be a real pain. I’ve covered a few ways to do this in previous posts (one, two), but I’ve recently added a new solution to my phone that, despite some limitations, is usually more convenient: Wireless File Transfer Lite.
When you start up the program, the initial screen shows the web address you’ll need to enter to access the files; it will usually be your Android’s assigned IP address on your local network, plus a port number (8888 here). Confusingly, you need to tap the “Stop” button to start the service …
… and once it’s active, as above, you need to tap “Active” to turn it off.
Entering the web address into your browser brings up the WFT interface, defaulting to the main sdcard directory. Here, you can delete/rename directories (with caution!). Click on a directory folder name …
.. and see all the files and subdirectories within that directory folder, with delete/rename options as well. Here’s the directory with shapefiles used in yesterday’s review of the shapefile viewer SHP Viewer. To download a file from this directory to your computer, just click on it, and it will be download to your default download destination. Right-clicking, and choosing “Save link as” … will *not* work here, so there’s no easy way to specify an alternate download destination.
To upload a file from your computer to your Android, navigate to the destination directory on your Android, then click the “Upload” button at the bottom of the page to select the file on your computer you want to send to the Android. One huge drawback: only one file can be uploaded at a time. So if you have many files, it would probably be faster to use a different wireless solution, or connect your Android via a USB cable and put it in USB Mass Storage mode to access directories using the File Explorer. The “Install” button lets you select a “.apk” program file on your computer, and have it install on your phone; useful for those programs that aren’t available on the Android Market (but watch out for potentially hazardous apps that may install viruses, or compromise your phone’s security).
Other issues: Upload/download speed will be determined by your wireless network’s limitations. On a good 802.11g network, transfer speeds should be fast enough for most files. If the files are really large, unless you have a phone and network that supports the faster 802.11n standard, you’d probably be better off again connecting the phone via a USB cable.
There is a free “Pro” version of Wireless File Transfer that adds file and app management functionality, but I find other apps more useful for that, and it just complicates the interface. Another, similar app is File Expert, which on paper is superior – it offers file management, a web-based interface, a built-in FTP server, connections to network storage devices, and much more. But the interface is more challenging, and it had an annoying tendency to freeze up or force-close on a regular basis. Try it if you like, but Wireless File Transfer offers a simpler interface without complications.
Final thoughts: For large files, or large numbers of files, you’ll probably want to explore other options. But for simple upload/download of a few files from your Android phone, Wireless File Transfer Lite is fast, simple and easy. Highly recommended, especially at the “price”.