USB On-The-Go or USB OTG is an old feature that allows you to connect USB devices such as flash drives, external storage, keyboard, etc. on another device like phones, tablets, and other portable media players. It’s not a new feature but it’s also not a widely supported by handset manufacturers.
On top of my mind a bunch of Nokia Symbian phones has it including the N8 and E72 which has the necessary cable included in the package. Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Tab supports it as well and also some of the new Xperias like the Sony Xperia S, P and U. It’s also available to most Android phones once rooted and the USB host driver installed.
USB OTG is a very much useful feature especially now we’re seeing a lot of smartphones without microSD slots. Just have the USB OTG cable with you and you can read/write files to and from your flash drives. It’s better than swapping microSD cards.
Now here’s the catch. That USB OTG cable is extremely hard to find in stores here in the country. Most sales people don’t know what it is. Some call it USB adapter. Or you can try calling it a microUSB to a Female-USB cable. Or just explain to them what it does. I found sellers in Sulit.com.ph selling it for P250 but I wanted to try it first to see if it works on my phone.
I tried looking for one over the weekend (SM MOA and SM Megamall) to complete my review of the Sony Xperia P. Nokia stores don’t sell that accessory separately. Sony Xperia shops don’t have it either. I tried their authorized dealers to no avail. Even the ever-reliable accessory shop CD-R King doesn’t have it!! All they have is the 16-pin to female-USB cable that’s used for tablets.
Then I went to a Samsung shop in Megamall and found one (and already reserved), it’s called the Micro USB to USB Adapter and it’s priced at a steep P700. Not cheap for a simple cable.
Finally, my search led me to this little stall called Phoenix Tab that sells China-made tablets and accessories for it. They have it for P400.
I tried it out on my phone and voila, it read my Sandisk Cruzer correctly. I wasn’t able to play the files from it because ES File Explorer doesn’t recognize the disk. Astro File Manager does though I heard. I was able to list the file content using the phone’s Office app anyhow so that’s good enough for me.
If you want to extend the functionality and storage of your phone, do get a USB OTG cable if your device supports it. If you’re wondering where this Phoenix Tab stall is located, it’s at the SM Cyberzone area in Megamall near the 4th floor parking lot entrance.
UPDATE: I also just learned that Widget City is also selling these for P500 a pop so if you’re buying your gadget that supports USB OTG from them, ask if they can squeeze in the cable too.