OTG drives make content transfer easy

LOOK, MA, NO CABLE: On-the-go (OTG) flash drives with USB at one end and micro-USB at the other do away with the cable, making data transfer much simpler. Offerings in the market include those from Verbatim, AData and Sony.


    Dec 27, 2013

    OTG drives make content transfer easy

    OTG USB drives with dual connectors

    THOSE on Android OS are far more open to connection with external devices than those on iOS, which remains largely shuttered.

    Getting content into or off an Android mobile device is relatively easy, either via a microSD card inserted into a built-in slot or a flash drive plugged into the micro-USB slot, the latter requiring a short cable with a male micro-USB plug at one end and a female USB plug at the other. This has traditionally been the way to put OTG (on-the-go) content into a smartphone or tablet, when supported, except for Google's Nexus devices, which do not have a micro-SD slot nor supports OTG.

    A few months back, I came across an OTG flash drive with USB at one end and micro-USB at the other. The USB is used to download stuff into the flash drive while the micro-USB sends it to the mobile device - taking away the cable and making the data transfer much simpler.

    This drive from Verbatim was quite costly - $49 for a 32GB one - and it had a basic design flaw: when plugged into the smartphone/tablet, it protrudes by some 2.5 inches, the average length of a flash drive, and gets in the way of the user.

    However, it wasn't long before another manufacturer came up with an improved design. AData's OTG drive is much shorter and the USB end can be detached and plugged into a PC to download data before being re-attached to the micro-USB end, then plugged into the smartphone/tablet. It is also cheaper at $39 for a 32GB drive.

    The next step in the evolution of the OTG drive came via Sony, which last week unveiled an even-more-compact device. The Sony USM-SA1 USB drive is housed in a metal body with a protective cap to protect the micro-USB port and locks on to the main USB drive body for easier plugging/unplugging to a PC.

    The Sony OTG drive has the best design of all the OTG devices I have seen. It is compact and short, making it an unobtrusive attachment to a smartphone/tablet. It is also reasonably priced, by Sony standards: 8GB ($17.90); 16GB ($26.90); 32GB ($43.90).

    However, an OTG flash drive is not the only way to get content into a smartphone/tablet. There are adapters to convert the USB plug of a standard USB drive to micro-USB. And there are also micro-SD card readers with micro-USB plugs - all these at very affordable prices of $10-$12. They are available at Best Bargains Computer in Sim Lim Square.

    It is really quite exciting to bring content (music, videos, photos) into a mobile device. OTG flash drives make this an easy task.

    One can be sure that, in the course of time, such drives will become cheaper and more versatile in features and design. And we can all look forward to viewing all manner of content on our smartphones/tablets.