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KDE Connect - State of the union

Hey there! We haven’t blogged about KDE Connect in a long time, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been lazy. Some new people have joined the project and together we have implemented some exciting features. Our last post was about version 1.0, but recently we released version 1.8 of the Android app and 1.2.1 of the desktop component some time ago, which we did not blog about yet. Until now! We got some fancy new features in place:

Remote Keyboard plugin

I think most of us can agree that typing long texts on the phone sucks compared to typing on a proper keyboard. Before, you could type your text on the desktop and copy & paste it to your phone using our clipboard sync. Now we got an even fancier method: our new Remote Keyboard plugin. Before using it you need to enable the KDE Connect Remote Keyboard in your phones settings. Screenshot_20180316-205817 Whenever you are confronted with a text input field you can switch to the KDE Connect Remote Keyboard. Then you open up the Plasmoid, click the input field and start typing. remotekeyboard.png Big thanks to Holger Kaelberer for implementing this!  

Reply to Whatsapp and others

Previously you only could reply to SMS, but not other IM apps like Whatsapp. We are pleased to announce that we were able to enable replying for several other messaging apps that support Androids quick reply, including Whatsapp. Please note that it is not within our control which apps are supported and which not. Big thanks to Julian Wolff for implementing this!  

Notification icons

On Android, most notifications have some kind of icon, like a contact picture for messaging apps or album art for media player notifications. KDE Connect now forwards those and displays them on the desktop and inside the Plasmoid. notification.png  

Runtime permissions

Android Marshmallow introduced a new permission system, giving the users fine-grained control about their apps. To support this new system each plugin got a set of required and optional permissions assigned. If a required permission has not been granted the respective plugin won’t be loaded. If an optional permission has not been granted the plugin will be loaded with reduced features. Screenshot_20180316-210321  

Direct share

Android Marshmallow also introduced Direct Share. Using this we enabled you to send files or urls to your desktop without opening KDE Connect. Screenshot_20180316-213838__01 (1)  

Plasmoid redesign

Our Plasmoid got some love Before: After:  

Choose ringtone for Find-my-Phone

A small but requested feature is selecting a ringtone for Find-my-Phone.  

Blacklist numbers

You are now able to blacklist numbers so that calls and SMS are not forwarded to the desktop. This is especially useful when you are using two-factor-authentification with your phone so it won’t get leaked to the desktop. Those features were implemented by me.  

Media controller overhaul

Matthijs Tijink has been working really hard on improving the media controller plugin. It now displays the album cover art and a media control notification as well as other polish. Make sure to check out his blog. Before: Screenshot_20180316-203437 After: Screenshot_20180316-201401 Notification: Screenshot_20180316-204859  

URL handler

Aleix Pol has implemented an URL handler that enables you to trigger phone calls for example by clicking a tel:// url in your browser.   Additionally we have fixed loads of bugs, crashes and papercuts and made many under-the-hood improvements. There is also a lot going on in related KDE software. Friedrich Kossebau is working on bringing MPRIS support to Gwenview and Okular, enabling controlling slideshows and presentations from KDE Connect. Furthermore we fixed some issues in the MPRIS implementation of Plasma Browser Integration and Elisa (the next-gen KDE music player). Speaking of Plasma Browser Integration: In case you haven’t, make sure to check out this awesome project which integrates neatly with KDE Connect, enabling you for example to control Youtube videos or Netflix from your phone or to send browser tabs to your phone. Thanks Kai Uwe Broulik for this awesome project! But this is not the end. We got some more features in the pipeline and this week the core developers are meeting for a sprint to discuss the future of KDE Connect. Some weeks ago we asked people on Reddit which features they like to see and got a ton of valuable feedback. We’ll discuss it and let you know which of them are feasible. If you are as excited about KDE Connect as we are we would love to see you join our development team. Make sure to subscribe to and ask for help at our mailing list. If you can’t contribute in a technical way but still want to support us consider donating to KDE. Your donations enable us to meet in person and work more closely on KDE Connect and other KDE Software.

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