Your Android phone is wasted on just making calls and sending texts. Here I reveal its full potential and show you how to get more from your phone
Modern mobile phones are extremely powerful. If you purchase a handset such as the Samsung Galaxy S4. You are actually getting a pocket computer, which is powered by a dual core 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor and backed with 16 GB of memory. Believe it or not, this is the kind of processing power you’d have found in a top of the range desktop computer at the start of the last decade. With all that muscle at your fingertips, it seems a real shame to just use it to send text messages. Check your email and play games like Angry Birds. Here we have got some more advanced ideas, such as connecting your phone directly to your TV, to help you get the most from your Android minicomputer.
Turn your Android phone into a computer
There are a lot of things your home computer has that a phone doesn't. Most notable are its large screen keyboard and mouse. If you're going to use your Android handset as a computer. You’ll need a way of connecting these, and it's actually much easier than you might think. Some Android mobiles and tablets have what's known as USB-OTG (On-The-Go) ports which will allow you to connect standard USB peripherals, such as a keyboard or mouse.
To do this, you'll need two things. An OTG cable which you can buy for a little over three Quid on Amazon, and a powered USB hub, so you can attach more than one device at II time. It's also worth bearing in mind that, unlike a PC, your phone is unlikely to be able to power USB devices directly.
When you connect a mouse, provided everything is working as it should, a pointer will appear on screen and you'll be able to move it around as normal. It sounds easy but success or failure hinges on your make and model of phone. This approach works fine on the Galaxy 54, but that may not be the case on other devices. Just because your phone supports OTG. Doesn’t necessarily mean it will recognize or let you use every peripheral you attach to it and, even if it does recognize and item, there’s no guarantee it will function entirely as originally intended.
As well as OTG, the latest smartphones and tablets support a technology called MLH – Mobile High Definition Link. This lets you connect your device directly to the HDMI port on a television, so you can view the contents of your handset on a big screen. You will need a special cable for this, which you can pick up for between 15$ and 30$ on Amazon. One downside of connecting your phone to a large display is that while most games should still look reasonable, compressed video (which appears sharp on a tiny phone’s display) is likely to be much less appealing when scaled up.
Another problem with MLH is that it makes use of the mobile’s USB port, so you will be able to view your phone’s display on the big screen, or attach a mouse and/or keyboard to the device, but not do both things at the same time.
The one possible solution to this problem is to use MLH to display the phone’s screen on your TV and pair a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse to your handset. Logitech sells some good, compatible products. Of course, with so many different combinations of Android handsets available, this may not work properly or at all for you. The truth s you will only really know for sure by trying it for yourself, or by seeking out other people with the same equipment who have already tried to do it.
Make Android the center of a home entertainment setup
Connecting a mobile to your TV using a cable, as we talked about earlier, is the easiest way of playing videos and games on the big screen. If your phone doesn’t support MLH, you might still be able to display the phone’s contents on your TV, provided the set is DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatible or you have another DLNA compliant device, such as a PS3 or Xbox 360, plugged into it.
Some Android phones come with DLNA app pre-installed. Most phones do not though, so you’ll need to download double Twist Player and Air Sync by doubleTwist. The former is free, but the latter cost 3$, so check to make sure it’s compatible with your phone before buying it. Use double Twist to connect your mobile to the same wireless network as your DLNA device. Air Sync should detect the network and you will be able to view the contents of your phone, and beam music, videos and photos to the TV’s Big Screen.