With Android Marshmallow being available now for a couple of months, there has been plenty written on its impressive list of highlight features. My review of the release covered most of those and I have also posted that I think Doze and App Sleep are the true killer features of the release.
But there is another feature that Android users have long wanted out of the platform that has come with Marshmallow: Native USB On-the-go (OTG) support. For those who aren’t familiar with OTG, it allows you to plug in a small adapter to your device and then read things like USB memory sticks, run a USB based keyboard or mouse as if your phone or tablet were a PC. It gives you the ability for example to transfer files from your Android tablet to a USB key to share with others. In previous released of Android, OTG support was not inherently supported and effectively required that you have your device rooted even if your hardware technically supported it. That, it seems for Nexus devices, has gone away.
That last phrase is key as I explore this with you. Right now it appears that the only devices that this works on with Marshmallow are Nexus devices: Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9 and Pixel C. I can confirm that I was able to connect a USB drive and a mouse successfully to my Nexus 6 and Nexus 7 while I was equally able to connect both to a colleague who as the Nexus 6P and Nexus 9. Based on information available, the Pixel C should have no problem supporting it either. Technically the Nexus 5 does support it but there have been reports of challenges getting it to work. At the end of the day, your mileage may vary so keep that in mind. Importantly, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try this out on your devices – especially if you have a non-Nexus device – to see if it work.
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