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How To Add a USB Keyboard to an Android Phone

Written By Blog PageRank 2 on Saturday, December 28, 2013 | 11:42 PM

Are these puny hardware buttons or the quirky on-screen QWERTY keyboards not really cutting it for you in Android? As it turns out, Google’s mobile platform appears to support USB keyboards natively on some stock builds. Of course, you can’t basically attach a large, honking external keyboard to your telephone and count on it to perform. You have to allow USB-OTG, or USB On The Go host mode, and have the appropriate USB cable, says MAKE. Luckily, Chris Paget’s blog shares the methods to make this take place. The whole process reminds me of a related project that modders got into back in 2008 with the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. I was scared of the soldering then, and sadly, I’m no closer to obtaining a comfort level.


Chris makes the magic happen on his Droid with 3 parts: a car charging cable, a micro USB cable and a USB extender cable — all pretty fundamental components. The charging cable is only necessary for the end piece — it becomes a micro USB dongle that tells Android there’s a USB device to install, which enables USB-OTG mode for the existing session. The other two cables are required for their ends and get spliced together: one finish plugs into the handset and the other accepts a male USB wire from a keyboard. Maybe I could manage the wee bit of soldering on this one given that it is only needed to quick out one particular resistor on the micro USB dongle. I think I’ll just search for a pre-created cable to do the trick.

Armed with the proper pieces, it is just a matter of booting up Android with the dongle in the phone. After the handset sees the dongle and continues to boot, you basically take away the dongle and plug in a USB keyboard with the spliced cable. Android sees the keyboard, and as Chris says, “It Just Operates.” A equivalent process was replicated and tested successfully on an HTC Hero as well, so odds are decent that numerous other Android phones can use USB-OTG to host a keyboard. No extra drivers were required for either the Droid or the Hero, so keyboard assistance has to be built within Android itself. Of course, that indicates it could go away in any future Android updates, but for now, you can appreciate a complete-sized keyboard on your pint-sized phone.
Image courtesy of Andrew de Quincey
Title: How To Add a USB Keyboard to an Android Phone
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Posted by: Admin Updated at: 11:42 PM

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