Sometimes we forget that we carry an actual computer around in our pocket. It’s time to use your Android smartphone for more than just making phone calls, taking pictures, tweeting, reading news stories or playing games. Now you can turn it into an even more versatile work tool by simply connecting a mouse and keyboard. This way, you can use it to conveniently type emails or create documents and presentations in productivity apps designed for Android, like Microsoft Office.
Wireless Bluetooth connection
How is it done? Let us explain. Of course, the easiest way is to take advantage of your phone’s wireless connectivity via Bluetooth. If you have a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse at home, connecting them is as easy as pairing wireless headphones. Just go to the Android Settings menu, select the Bluetooth section, turn on the mouse or keyboard so that the device detects them… and you’re done. If you can connect an Xbox controller, you can connect anything!
If your mouse or keyboard doesn’t have these features, don’t worry, because you can always connect them the old-fashioned way, using a USB connection.
There are some Android devices, for example, many tablets, that incorporate a USB port as standard, but if that’s not your case or if you prefer to use your phone, you only need to purchase a USB-OTG adapter, available in many online stores at rock-bottom prices. For less than four dollars, you can greatly expand the possibilities of your smartphone.
There are different models of USB-OTG adapters, designed to connect to Android devices through their USB Type-C or Micro-USB ports. However, it is important to make sure that your Android device is compatible with this technology before investing in one.
Using a USB-OTG adapter to connect a keyboard, mouse or pen drive
In fact, the USB-OTG adapter will also allow you to connect any type of flash drive with USB input to your Android device. This can make it easier to free up your device’s memory without having to remove the SD card from your device or resort to the cumbersome task of uploading photos or videos to Google Drive or other cloud-based storage services.
If you want to attach several USB peripherals at the same time, there are more expensive USB-OTG adapters on the market that function as a USB Hub to provide several USB ports through a Micro-USB input.
More precise controls with a gamepad
The USB-OTG adapter will also let you connect a USB gamepad to your device, so you can enjoy more precise controls when playing games that support this feature. It’s an attractive extra that’s worth considering, although it is certainly much more convenient to use a Bluetooth-compatible controller, either manufactured specifically for Android like the 8bitdo SN30, the PS4 DualShock 4 or the Xbox Game Controller for Xbox One.