USB Host Mode

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  • Forum posts: 8

Sep 19, 2010 10:47:09 PM via Website

I was surprised not to find this topic in a search, as I doubt I am the only one at this forum that would like to use USB peripherals with the Droid.

Anyway my question is, "Has anyone found a software or hardware solution for putting the Droid (Droid 2 in my case) into USB Host Mode?"

Obviously, a software solution would be terrific, but I'd go for a working hardware solution. I've seen posts on shorting pins 4 & 5 during the boot process, in order to get the Droid in USB Host mode, which then allows you to connect something like a USB keyboard. But I've tried it and have not as yet been successful.

My goal is to get a regular USB keyboard to work with my Droid 2.

Thank you in advance,
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Sep 20, 2010 2:13:52 PM via Website

I'm assuming you have already seen this page then?

If not, take a look through it, even thought it seems to be the same method you describe above. As for the problems you have, There were people with Droid/Milestones complaining that it wasn't work. Until someone posted up this fix which may be what you need to get the hardware solution to work on your phone.
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Sep 20, 2010 3:48:56 PM via App

this is a bit off-topic, but would Bluetooth work?
  • Forum posts: 8

Sep 20, 2010 4:54:37 PM via Website

Yes, Chris Padget's blog and the related circuit drawing with switch that I first ran across when looking for a solution. I have the adapter and micro-switch assembled without any problems, but my Droid 2 just won't boot into host mode. I've posted follow-up questions on Chris' blog, but apparently he doesn't maintain it regularly, as my post is still 'waiting to be moderated' after three weeks.

Yes, I'd be quite happy with Bluetooth keyboard, except for the price. I have yet to find one that is compatible for the price I'm willing to pay. And it would only get me the keyboard. With USB Host mode I could potentially connect all sorts of other peripherals.

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Sep 21, 2010 1:46:01 PM via Website

Twitter- Good thought. I'll give it a try.
Thank you,
  • Forum posts: 1

Nov 3, 2010 6:58:17 PM via Website

DROID 2 does not support host mode with that trick.
  • Forum posts: 8

Nov 5, 2010 5:02:37 AM via Website

gowtham j
DROID 2 does not support host mode with that trick.

Ah, well that's a bummer. Are there any hardware tricks of which you (or anyone) are aware?

If not, are there any software tricks? I'm open to rooting, if needed, although I'd prefer not to do so.

Thanks in advance,
  • Forum posts: 3

Jan 15, 2011 5:40:19 AM via Website

Andrew Lindsay
gowtham j
DROID 2 does not support host mode with that trick.

Ah, well that's a bummer. Are there any hardware tricks of which you (or anyone) are aware?

If not, are there any software tricks? I'm open to rooting, if needed, although I'd prefer not to do so.

Thanks in advance,

Did you ever discover a solution for this, Andrew?

I, too, am wanting to use an external USB keyboard with my Android 2.0 device.

  • Forum posts: 8

Jan 15, 2011 7:19:10 AM via Website

Sadly no. I've had many posts out in many forums, blogs, and the like. There has been no response that anyone is able to put a current model Droid into USB Host Mode. On the contrary, I was reading a professional publication today pointing out Apple's solid lock on periphreral support, while Android phones couldn't even offer simple USB support. It's almost laughable for a supposedly modern and advanced device.

I'd love for someone to post there is a rooted solution, but I don't see it happening. I'll perhaps spring for a Bluetooth keyboard, until the time I can get a more mature device. Who knows, now that Verizon supports iPhones, maybe I'll make the switch :-)

  • Forum posts: 3

Jan 15, 2011 10:32:59 PM via Website

Thanks for following up, Andrew.

That IS disappointing. I grabbed this tablet after finding a thread about how hackable it was. But I only read about the first four or five of 13 some pages on that forum before buying.

Later, after buying, I read all the pages and found that the firmware had changed in September of 2010 and that the great hacks described were apparently "bricking" newer machines.

I NEED to be able to connect a portable, full-size keyboard in order to get the use out of this that I purchased it for. I also need a GREAT pdf reader that will reflow pdfs so that they do not exceed the width of the screen AND that will let me annotate pdf docs. Apparently, the latter does not exist yet for Android. For any Android. The prior MAY, but I haven't found it yet.

Even the user's manual that comes as a loaded pdf on the Velocity Micro Cruz Reader displays wider than the screen and requires scrolling from left to right line by line when read with the native "trial" office app included out of the box.

I'm still within my 30-days return window on this machine and may just give up and take it back and search for a lighter-weight e-ink device. Or, maybe I'll just wait until the technology and applications get better. And replace the bios battery in my pocket pc and use it for my PDF reader, annotator and portable writing device as I did for years. The Pocket PC's drawbacks are:

- screen size -- too small for comfortable reading of book-length documents.
- need to pick up the stylus to scroll down each time you've read a screen (no rapid, single touch page turn function)
- 10-hour battery life.

But this little thing -- even in '03 -- would accept a full-size (folding) keyboard and would reflow pdfs so that they are readable. And by '05 or '06, there were non-Adobe pdf programs available for it that would allow you to highlight, bookmark and annotate pdf documents.

Don't understand why Droid is so far behind on these essential functions for using the devices in a true, efficient, portable working office environment. Or maybe I do. Really, they are designed as game machines and show-off toys for the thumb-texting cellphone generation. And their utility is super limited. You can't sit in a lecture and take a thousand words of notes at 120 wpm. Or sit on a commuter train seat and review notes on the screen and type a detailed proposal for a client. Or write an 8-page report that you will finish editing on your laptop later and then print and distribute at a business meeting.

Rather, these are toys that make sending 10- or 15-word emails possible from your phone; that let you surf websites without too much difficulty and update your Facebook status and maybe even send a tweet; let you play some computer games; keep an electronic appointment calendar if you want to; read some forms of e-docs; and make some really brief notes. Oh yeah, and make phone calls , if you have the original Droid phone or a successor.

I want the utility I had with my 2003 Pocket PC, but with more storage, faster operating system; much bigger memory; greater expandability (32GB sdk and up); easier file swapping between portable device and personal computer; much longer battery life, PLEASE; bigger screen (7" inch is fine); and freedom from the stylus. And DEFINITELY want the ability to use mini-USB peripherals, like a folding full-size keyboard. And, my own personal huge need: the ability to read pdfs at full-screen width and to make notes in them as I read.

And I want it for $200. Or so.

I appreciate the touch-screen aspect of the tablets, but don't care for the fingerprints and smudges and doubt that there is much to be done about that.

I need a highly portable note-taking, report-writing, wifi-web-researching, pdf-reading/annotating device. Something smaller, lighter, thinner, easier to carry than my netbook. Something readable in nearly any light. (Unlike my old Palm Pilots.) Something I can touch-type on at a 120 words per minute and that has a simple, Word-compatible, basic full-function word processor. And it would be cool if it had a webcam that would let me scan or take macro jpgs of research materials I'm sorting through, so I would have perfectly readable copies of pages of essential research materials available later for viewing or OCR scanning.

Wonder how long 'til something like that is available at a price that is LESS than I paid for my netbook?

End of description of my dream machine.

Funny. I had read that the Android System -- from I thought 1.6-on -- had native support for external keyboards. And it may. But the real issue seems to be the USB hosting capability. Which may vary from device to device?

I've still got 15 days or so to return / refund this Micro Cruz. Maybe someone really really innovative in that time will stumble upon this and post and explain how THEY have managed to get USB hosting working on their Android device.

Wouldn't that be cool?

-- ken

— modified on Jan 15, 2011 10:40:18 PM

  • Forum posts: 8

Jan 15, 2011 11:59:09 PM via Website

You might be able to use a Bluetooth keyboard, but I think that is as far as you can go. I'm not aware of anything that will let you annotate a pdf; bookmark yes, annotate/edit no.
  • Forum posts: 3

Jan 16, 2011 9:24:58 AM via Website

It's been on Fox-it's list for almost 2 years now to develop a fully functional version of their great pdf software for Android OS. But they haven't gotten out even a beta yet. When they do -- if they do -- we would have note-taking and fill-in forms functionality. Or -- because this has been promised and delayed for two years -- it may be that the Android OS just presents too much of a challenge.

In my own case, if I could just stretch my Dell Axim Pocket PC a couple inches diagonally and make it a bit thinner and lighter in the process, I think I'd be a happy camper. It had the basic functionality I need. (And it had bluetooth as well as infrared and usb inputs. Am recalling now that I most often used a full-size, folding infra-red Stowaway keyboard with it when using it for notetaking at conferences and when using it for writing on cafe tabletops and in libraries and elsewhere.)

My Velocity Micro Cruz doesn't have bluetooth, so a bluetooth keyboard is not an option. Unfortunately. That WOULD be an elegant solution otherwise.
  • Forum posts: 1

Jan 19, 2011 10:40:48 AM via Website


I am an Android Newbie and looking for advice to try this technology.

Is it possible to plug in an external hard disk (say 320GB) formatted in ext3 or FAT32 so that I can access all my music archive. Is this operating system specific or hardware (tablet) dependant.

Thanl you