Gone are the days when we used to use Duct Tape to stick two pieces of hardware together. In our modern age, the USB drive is the primary tool used for connecting two different forms of devices. Although Android devices are equipped with a micro USB drive, the USB OTG feature is still out of reach.
USB OTG (USB On The Go) is a standardized feature that allows communication of data between devices through USB without the need for a PC. While traditionally, devices could only connect with one another while mounted to a computer via a USB, USB OTG essentially allows a device to act as a USB host. By doing this, you are able to connect additional hardware to your phone, for instance, a USB drive, keyboards or even musical instruments.
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Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with everything. Finding USB OTG compatible devices is all about trial and error, while some partially feature the functionality, others don’t support it at all. Generally, Samsung devices seem to have the most USB-based capability.
How to know if your Android supports USB OTG
If you still have the device’s packaging, check if it has the USB On-the-Go logo or see if its listed as one of its specifications. In case you don’t have the box it came in, consult Google for information or go to the manufacturer’s website.
With that being said, if your device was released within the last two years, its most probably supports the functionality.
How to use OTG on your phone or tablet
If your device supports OTG, you’ll first need to get the right OTG cable for your device. That is readily available on the market. Once you have one in hand, here are some pretty awesome uses you could try for it:
Use as a card reader
You can easily move photos and videos from your camera to your tablet or handset. This setup is especially useful for photography enthusiasts. You will no longer need to have a computer as a go-between, you can review and retouch them directly on your phone.
Connect a keyboard
If you do a lot of writing, then this would be a killer capability for you. This basically gives you the ability to use those fast laptop or PC typing skills on your phone.
Use as a camera controller
The USB OTG capability allows you to mount your Android device to a DSLR camera. And with the integration of an such as DSLR Controller, you can easily have total control over your camera with your Android.
Connect a mouse
Another peripheral devices you can connect to your phone and tablet is a mouse. Once you have it attached, pointer will appear on your Android screen and you can begin to use it for navigation controls, just as you would on a computer.
Use as a Game Controller
With retro gaming becoming a thing, you readily buy relatively inexpensive USB retro controllers. Simply connect one of these to your USB OTG and have an immersive gaming experience in the palm of your hands.
Additionally, you can plug in an Xbox 360 controller or even a PS3 controller, start a game and get it up and running without any other necessary configuration.
Connect a USB storage device
With USB OTG you have storage devices such as external hard drives or USB sticks connected to your phone or tablet. All the data on the external storage device can quickly be accessed using a file manager on your device. You can also play your movies and music without the need of transferring them to your phone’s storage.
As a bonus, you can use it as an alternative backup storage option for your videos, photos, music and whatever files you may have on your phone or tablet.
These are just a few ideas you could try with the USB OTG. How do you make the most of your USB On The Go? Let us know in the comments.
If you can’t find the information there, try checking for your device onGSMArena.com. In the specifications list, scroll down to where it says “USB” and check if the entry lists “USB Host” — those are the magic words you’re looking for.
Another method is to download USB OTG Checker from the Play Store; it’s a free app that you can run to get a quick answer on whether your Android supports the feature or not.
Not every Android device supports USB OTG, it’s something the manufacturer has to enable. This setting is in the phone or tablet’s kernel, the conduit middleman software that lets your hardware talk to your operating system and apps. If your answer is a negative when you use USB OTG Checker, then you might want to consider using a custom Android kernel that supports USB OTG for your device.
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