We all know that nowadays smartphones are more powerful than most of the computers 20 years ago. They became immanent part of our lives. Some of us use them way more often that regular PCs or laptops. However, there are some functionalities that distinguish smartphones from computers. One of them is the ability to connect peripherals like pendrives, mice, keyboards or monitors. Is it really a functionality that is out of reach for smartphones users?
The whole USB communication between devices is based on the host-accessory relation. Usually when we connect a phone to a computer, the former works as an accessory and the later as a host. The host device is always a power supplier, it also initiates and manages communication with peripherals, and has the ability to read data from accessories. With USB On-The-Go those roles can be swapped and our phone can act as a host. USB On-The-Go (OTG) specification was created in 2001, and since Android 3.1, some of the devices could use it. It has been available for a few years now, but still not many of us have heard about it. Nowadays almost all Android-powered devices support host-accessory modes, and all we need to discover its capabilities is an OTG cable or adapter, since the host and accessory devices are designated basing on which end of cable they are connected to.
With a use of OTG, you can watch online movies on your TV directly from your phone, use your device even if the screen is broken (using the mouse) or print files simply by plugging in the printer to the smartphone. It also makes it possible to create custom devices which can be connected to the phone and can be used as peripherals. With the introduction of USB-C this has become even easier, since using single microUSB-C – microUSB-C cable we are able to connect i.e. two smartphones in a host-accessory relation and read data or even charge one from another! USB OTG specification offers many new possibilities and makes us think about the future of mobile devices. Is it probable that in next few years smartphones will displace regular computers? This question is still open, but for sure capabilities of those small devices are becoming less and less limited.