Get Hubbing with a Host

USB host is a feature available only in Android 3.1 and is a set of APIs that allow your device to hook up to other gadgets such as keyboards, mouse and flash drives.  To connect your Samsung Galaxy Note, you need one of these. An API is really a set of instructions which allows a device to do something quickly, without having to develop your own code. This is very useful if you don’t already know.

Hosted Cable

hosted USB cable

It doesn’t look like much but trust me, this is a miracle from where iOS devices are coming from. For a start, if you own an Apple iPhone or iPad, you’d know how difficult it is to get it to recognize an external device. Bluetooth connection is probably the only means for you to connect up a keyboard but to exchange files, you can only do so between iOS device but not outside the Apple ecosystem.

Android allows you to do this but there is a hitch, you cannot connect up a external HD to the Note for two simple reasons.

  • HD format. It does not recognize a drive formated in NTFS.
  • An external HD draws too much power from the USB port.

For the first problem NTFS can be read only with a rooted GN. You need an app for this. So it’s not that difficult. The second problem requires a powered USB hub. This can be both mains powered or battery powered. There is one here.

USB battery powered Hub

This adds a host of capabilities as using an external HD is virtually impossible on an iOS device.

Cloud Storage

There are many out there who spiffily think that having Cloud storage will save the day….WRONG.

You know damn well that you need to be online to use a Cloud service and with the majority of carriers still on 3G, you’d be hampered by the lack of speed and availability when you are in a congested location. WIFI? Sounds cool until you can’t find a spot.

Gathering your media means you need to store it somewhere. Imagine for a moment if you have run out or run low on phone storage, where do you turn to? Cloud services are fine but frankly you need to be in the right place to do this. This leaves you no other choice if you have an iPhone or iPad. I once bought a Camera Kit for the iPad. This device lets you store stuff and transfer images from an SD card to your iOS toy. Trust me, it was a poor choice. It didn’t work with Flash drives. Just SD cards. Which means you had to copy to your SD, transfer it to a computer, and from the computer copy those files from the SD card to the HD. Bummer. Furthermore cloud storage is slow unless you get a fast line. With most lines operating at 3.5 G speeds, pulling files and uploading them at the same time will cost you dearly in terms of battery life.

The Galaxy Note doesn’t need all that. Just the hosted cable will start you off with all the flash drive storage you can find. Right now there are 256GB flash drive but these cost a bomb. You could settle for something smaller like a 128GB version.

Large capacity storage for flash drives are a good indicator for the future of mobile devices too. Currently, 16GB storage is still relatively cheap while 32GB is coming down as can be seen from SD card and flash drives. 128GB is still pricey while 256GB is positively expensive.

The Galaxy Note comes with 16GB storage for apps while it can take a microSD of up to 32GB. More on this on the next post.



  1. Adrian · January 12, 2012

    As a newbie GN owner, I am about to set off on my first proper holiday for years (woohoo!) I’m a photographer, and seeing as the low-cost airlines now squeeze every penny out of you they can, I’m looking at ways to save weight and avoid extra bags.

    One of the gadgets I sometimes take on domestic trips is a Jobo GigaVu (basically HD with a screen) which I use to review / back up / store pictures from my CF cards. It’s easy enough to find CF to USB readers (which weigh almost nothing), so I’m wondering – could I plug a card reader into my GN via a USB host cable (ie no need for a powered hub as it’s just reading a CF card)?

    I could then leave the viewer behind and save 400g of carry-on – that’s like two whole T-shirts – or better, an extra lens or two!


    Adrian (PS – I have another question re remote desktopping, so I’ve asked that on your remote desktop post.

    • benardquek · January 13, 2012

      The GN OTG USB will read CF and SD cards but it hasn’t got enough power to read an actual hard disk without a powered USB hub in place.

      On another Note (pun intended) the JOBO itself has an OTG USB port, you could try a direct connection with an ordinary USB cable from your GN to the JOBO since the OTG function is supported. You could use the GN to upload files remotely to your dropbox or Boxbuzz cloud storage. The Filemanager app on the GN should be able to do this.

  2. Adrian · January 13, 2012

    Wasn’t familiar with tech of OTG, good to know I can do direct transfers from the Jobo. For this particular trip though I want to leave the Jobo behind, so will experiment before I go – ie temporarily transfer data from CF cards (via reader/hosted cable) onto phone’s SDHC and then FTP or cloud store it via wifi (and/or copy it to a 2nd spare micro SD card). I always like 2 copies of data, plus I can then re-use some CF cards if need be.

    Now I just need to try a bendy keyboard to complete the minifying of my office!


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