OTG Cables

Android Honeycomb, Jelly Bean, and Windows OS Tablets all support full-size USB ports. Oddly enough, most Android tablet manufacturers do not include the actual standard size port while nearly all Windows tablets do include it. If you have an Android tablet with a mini-USB port and really want a full-size port, you may be in luck. On-The-Go cables, also known as OTG cables, are adapter cords that will convert that mini-USB port into that full sized USB port you desire. This is great news if you currently own a tablet that has a mini-USB port that you are happy with, as it can save you the money of buying a new tablet solely because it does not have the bigger USB port.

Fair warning, not all tablets will work with an OTG cable. It’s not a software issue, but sometimes a hardware issue. Basically, some tablet manufacturers cheap out and configure the mini-USB port for charging of the tablet only. This is not common, but lower end tablets have been known to do this. The mini-USB port needs to be rated as a USB Host. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. USB Host simply means that the manufacturer has configured the port for data transfer as well, which will enable hosting connections with USB devices. If you have an existing tablet, often the specs of the tablet are available online to determine if your tablet plays friendly.

 

microUSB found on most tablets
miniUSB
plus symbolAn OTG Cable
OTG CableCurrently Under $5.00 on Amazon INCLUDING SHIPPING
equal symbolA full size USB portUSB-Port

 

mini-usb-hub
A USB Hub turns one USB port into many USB ports.

If you are not able to determine if your tablet has USB hosting capabilities, odds are that it does. And usually, for less than $5.00 (including shipping), the potential benefits of purchasing an OTG cable well outweighs the risk. Plus, even if it does not work on your tablet, it will most likely work on your smartphone. You can’t beat that.

Looking to add more than one full size USB to the tablet?

Mini USB hubs come rated at USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. If your port is rated at 3.0, you would want to spend the extra five to ten dollars to buy a 3.0 hub. Mini USB hubs do not require any external power source to operate as they use the power from the USB port itself.

See it in action:

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