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Hook a USB device to your Nokia N810 thanks to USB-On-The-Go

N810_otg1aThanks to Joel for the tip on this one. He shared a link to a Nokia Developer Forum that has a tasty little mobile tidbit in it pertaining to USB. Apparently, the Nokia N810 supports the USB-On-The-Run-Go supplement which, if you have the right USB cable, can expand compatibility of your Internet Tablet. Here’s an excerpt of this mobile goodness:

“In Slave role N810 acts as a FAT-format memory card or with g_ether driver as a USB networking card. In Slave mode you can connect your tablet to your PC and it shows up by default as external memory card. Using USB-OTG host mode you can connect your USB memory stick to your tablet, you can also connect tablet to various other memory devices like digital cameras, memory card readers or even to a external hard disk. The N810 can supply limited amount of power to external USB device and no extra powered hub is needed.”

The needed cable is nearly identical to most mainstream USB cables except for one slight difference: a single pin that dictates slave mode when open and master mode when grounded. Folks are apparently hacking their own although I’ve read reports that some online retailers carry this type cable connection. This of course doesn’t mean full compatibility with every USB device under the sign, but it shows potential. Thanks Joel!

10 Responses to “Hook a USB device to your Nokia N810 thanks to USB-On-The-Go”

  1. I am so confused. So can you connect a Nokia N810 to a USB modem (e.g., Verizon) and have a direct connection to the internet. Any ideas would be much appreciated. I want to be able to live stream using it.

    Thanks!

    Scott Jordan

  2. gork: Pierre was saying that you don’t need a cable with the special OTG pin stuff, that you can just tell the kernel to switch into host mode even if the cable doesn’t have the proper wiring to notify the tablet that you’re hooking a device up to it (rather than hooking it up to a computer host). So a slightly more common and cheap USB A Female to A Female gender changer, combined with the cable you use to hook it up to your computer is enough to connect a keyboard or flash drive or whatever, if you’re willing to issue a sysctl change (xterm command) manually.

    As the article you quoted states, even if you buy a cable advertising itself as OTG, it still may not have the proper shorted pin and you may still end up having to do the manual switching into host mode. So you might as well just get a gender changer.

    kahm: USB OTG now says the host should use a Micro-AB plug, like on the N810, but cables wired for OTG with a Micro-A connector aren’t too easy to find yet since it’s a recent change. Worse, Nokia wasn’t thinking about OTG compatibility when they made the N800 (support in software only came with the updated OS made for the N810), so even though they used a chip which supported it, they used a Mini-B plug instead of a Mini-AB plug. Obviously it’s rather hard to find OTG cables that are Mini-B to B or Mini-B to Female A. I imagine they saved a few cents on the connectors though.

  3. Pierre,

    The article you linked to STILL states that you need a cable:

    In order for the n800 to enter into host mode you need to flash the N800 to OS 2008 and obtain the correct adapter. What is required is a USB A (Female) to USB Mini-B (Male) OTG cable (sometimes called a OTG convertor cable). Can be found here UK [1] and here using Google Product seach [2]. *some report these cables and others advertized as OTG have the proper end connectors but don’t automatically start host mode. The only report I have seen of true OTG behavior is a Big Lots adapter kit. For current info on the search for OTG connectors see the discussion.

  4. Ok, and congratulations for your blog, and for your videocast, i know too many persons here in Gijón (Spain) that follow you.
    Thanks for yout time Kevin and James.

  5. Excuse me for my poor level of english, i´m from Asturias a little state (autonomy) of Spain in Europe, i read all days your blog, and my question about that post is if it is possible to connect a usb hsdpa modem to the nokia tablet with that USB-On supplement?

  6. I’m not sure why this is a such a huge deal. USB-OTG uses 2 types of mini usb connectors – B is the regular slave type and A is the “host” cable. The Zaurus guys have been using them for years – I’ve got a pair of 4″ mini-A cables that give me a full sized, regular USB port that I bought from iRiver. (They were replacement parts for one of their PMPs…)
    I’ve purchased multi-end USB kits from Radio Shack that included the mini-A bits. They’re not *that* hard to find.
    The real problem is USB power. The OTG host ports don’t necessarily supply the full half amp of power for obvious reasons. A lot of devices have a problem with it…