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debernardis's Avatar
Posts: 2,116 | Thanked: 1,976 times | Joined on Dec 2006 @ Sicily
#1
This is a brand new thread to discuss (and hopefully find a workaround) for the *fact* that the N900 does not allow USB OTG mode at the hardware level.

Here Quim Gil firstly admits this problem (it was Sept 20th):

The N900 doesn't support USB host mode and the limitation comes at hardware level. Igor Stoppa and myself provide more details at http://lists.maemo.org/pipermail/mae...er/020830.html.
...which is detailed here:

On Sun, 2009-09-20 at 20:44 +0200, Gil Quim (Nokia-D/Helsinki) wrote:
> Hi,
>
> > > > I plan to create a proposal for the push n900[1] and I plan to
> use the
> > > > usb port. I have the following question.
> > > > When the device is in usb-host mode it should of course provide
> power does
> > > > it? Is it possible to charge the device while it's in usb-host
> mode?
>
> The N900 comes without USB host mode. When I asked I was told that the
> limitation comes at hardware level.

I can confirm this. The most reasonable setup would have been to provide
the A connector, but only gadget mode working forthe sales release, then
in a SW update to provide full spectrum support.

Then enters the USB certification with all its mass of quite often
bizantine, obsolete and plain braindead requirements.

One of them being that the certification with A connector can be passed
only if full functionality is provided by the SW.

In this case I propose that complaints are directed to the USB
consortium. I have really come to doubt that it's actually protecting
the consumers' interests in nowadays scenario.

> The reason for this decision was the complexity of providing support
> for charging, PC connectivity and USB OTG efficiently through the same
> Micro USB port within the project deadlines.

Add to that several HW bugs that were discovered during the development
and needed workarounds.

> We needed to make choices and the decision was to sacrify USB OTG and
> concentrate on the essential use cases of charging and connecting to
> the PC, bringing the N900 to the market in its due time.

Although noone really liked the choice we had to make. We do use our
products and as consumers we are aware of the limitations sometimes we
have to apply.

--

Cheers, Igor

---

Igor Stoppa
Maemo Software - Nokia Devices R&D - Helsinki
Is there a possibility for a software-only solution?

Or, what external hardware could solve the basic problem of - at least - connecting a usb flash/hd/whatever memory to the n900?

Please discuss.
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Last edited by debernardis; 10-16-2009 at 01:27 AM. Reason: clarifications as required by Mr. Allnameswereout
 

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#2
Seems like there is not USB OTG. However, this is quite similar to the n800 and the 770.

"only if full functionality is provided by the SW"

What does that mean? Does the actual hardware support USB host like the N810 and N800? Is a software switch enough to change it to host mode?
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#3
The word from Nokia seems pretty definitive, guys. You're going to have to use Bluetooth or Wifi or some other protocol (infrared?) to communicate with external devices.
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debernardis's Avatar
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#4
Do you know of external bluetooth/wifi/telepathic readers for usb sticks?
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#5
So is there any mobile device which charges via the usb and still allows usb host mode?
 
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#6
Originally Posted by debernardis View Post
Do you know of external bluetooth/wifi/telepathic readers for usb sticks?
No. But I know you can get small USB microSD card readers. Here's one for the price of a Starbucks latte from a store near me.

You buy a microSD card, put it in the reader, and use it as a USB stick on computers everywhere you go.

When you want to take things from the USB stick and put them on your N900, you can pop off the back of the device, pop in the microSD card, and read the data (copy it to the internal 32 GB if you need the slot again).

No, it's not ideal. But it will do.

I do most of my file transfer to/from my mobile devices via sftp these days, anyway.
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#7
Yes that's the case when you have to move files from one machine to another.

The other also important and frequent use case is when you're on the move and you *have* to read a file from a usb thumb drive someone's handing you. Or write. This happened to me several times, with perfect response from my n810 tablet.

How can we solve that?
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#8
Mobidapter



Ugly as hell, but might work?

http://mobile.allaboutsymbian.com/re...Mobidapter.php
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#9
Originally Posted by sachin007 View Post
So is there any mobile device which charges via the usb and still allows usb host mode?
"via the Micro-USB", to be more precise.

Following with some reactions in the N900 Specifications thread:

There is no doubt that most users (even most Maemo target users) would prefer saving cables and having one single standard interface for charging over USB OTG.

Note that a separate charging port doesn't only mean more cables, but also more volume and complexity in the design of the device. If you think "it's only a small slot!" is because you (like me) are not really into engineering mobile hardware.

You can't connect a camera in host mode, but the N900 comes with a good camera. The use case is still relevant but is not as heavy as in previous Maemo devices.

You can't connect a hard drive in host mode, but the N900 comes with a big internal memory expandable with a MicroSD card. The use case is still relevant but is not as heavy as in previous Maemo devices.

USB OTG is in our radar for future releases, yes. Too soon to make an official commitment though.
 

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#10
Originally Posted by debernardis View Post
Yes that's the case when you have to move files from one machine to another.

The other also important and frequent use case is when you're on the move and you *have* to read a file from a usb thumb drive someone's handing you. Or write. This happened to me several times, with perfect response from my n810 tablet.

How can we solve that?
You echo my concerns. Exactly, how about when on the move? Also, not everyone's router support USB drives

I have used this feature and liked that on my N800.
 

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