Wouldn’t life be much easier if you could connect a keyboard or mouse to your Android tablet or smartphone? Believe it or not, you can. What’s more, you can connect an Xbox controller and play games console-style right from your device.
USB keyboards, mice, and gamepads
Android phones and tablets don’t come with standard, full-size USB ports so you can’t plug a USB accessory directly into it. To connect, you’ll need a USB on-the-go (OTG) cable, which is simply a micro-USB adapter that can be purchased from any computer store for a couple dollars.
From there, your accessories should work without any further configuration. In fact, USB OTG even allows you to use other USB devices with your Android, like a flash drive.
Keep in mind that not every Android device has the port that’s required to support USB OTG. Such is the case with a Nexus 4 smartphone. Make sure to Google your device’s specs before purchasing a USB OTG cable.
Bluetooth keyboards, mice, and gamepads
While USB OTG works well, wires do add clutter to what is supposed to be a portable device. This is where Bluetooth technology comes in. Most Android devices will allow you to connect wireless mice, keyboards, and gamepads directly by pairing them with your Android Bluetooth settings.
Using each accessory
All your accessories should work in a plug-and-play manner, and here’s what you can expect from each of them.
- Keyboard: Once connected, you should be able to use it to type on your Android tablet just like the onscreen keyboard. Many of the keyboard shortcuts work like they do on computers, too. These include Alt+Tab for switching between apps, and Ctrl+X, C, or V for Cut, Copy, and Paste.
- Mouse: Connecting a mouse will allow you to navigate and click on things you’d normally tap on your Android device with a mouse cursor. You can still use the touchscreen while the mouse is connected.
- Gamepad: While gamepads can be used to navigate through your Android’s home-screen interface and launch applications, they’re better used with games that support controllers like Sonic and many others.
You’ll be surprised at the number of things you can do to get the most out of your Android device. If you have any questions about Android or are looking to integrate it into your business, give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise.