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Is it possible to somehow connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse to an Android phone and then use it as a lightweight computer (netbook-like)? If it is, what Android version / phone type support it, and how can it be done?

I know that 2 years ago, the guys behind REDFLY presented a proof of concept working with their terminal; but I've heard nothing else about it and a lot has changed with Android over the past 2 years.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Samsung have a dock for the Galaxy Tab which connects it to a pretty much full-size keyboard, and props the screen in a position where it's like a laptop's screen. There are also a number of Android devices that have a video or HDMI out capability to output their screen onto a TV, often needing a special converter cable.

Bluetooth is an option for connecting keyboards, KeyPro (AppBrain Link) (Official Website) andTeksoft Blueinput (AppBrain Link) (Official Website) load drivers onto your phone to let you use Bluetooth HID to connect up many Bluetooth keyboards (trial versions are free to test your device's compatibility, but it looks like if you want to carry on using it you'll have to pay to register to make it work fully). There are other options for loading Bluetooth HID (keyboard) drivers onto your phone if you root it.

Also, see these previous questions regarding connecting peripherals, such as keyboards and mice, to Android devices using Bluetooth.

From Android Honeycomb (Android 3.1) upwards certain devices, that have USB Host support built into their hardware, can attach and use normal USB keyboards and mice (with the appropriate USB host micro-USB to USB converter cable). I have occasionally plugged in used a keyboard this way on my Motorola Xoom.

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Motorola have just been showing off their 'Atrix' phone which does pretty much what you're after. It's apparently due 'later this year' (source).

Here's a video of the docking features.

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Very impressive, though I hope this can be achieved with other phone types as well. –  Oak Jan 10 '11 at 10:52
    
Yes, I sure hope so.. PLEASE. I'm buying a LG Optimus speed btw. –  sinni800 Jan 26 '11 at 12:30
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As a (former) Atrix 4G owner, I can comment that this is an awesome idea, but executed very poorly by Motorola. First, at launch the dock used to cost as much as the phone (~$500). The price came down significantly since then though ($50 online from AT&T). The biggest drawback is the outdated and very restrictive Linux build Motorola used for the Dock functionality. Long story short - a laptop replacement it isn't. Maybe a netbook. –  Chahk Mar 2 '12 at 17:35
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Samsung Galaxy S can output to TV using a special Micro USB to HDMI cable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQBAx_BDfk

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I'm typing this response using a bluetooth keyboard, bluetooth mouse, and external monitor hooked up to my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It works great and was very simple to set up. No special drivers or apps needed. I'm using a Dell S2409Wb monitor, an old RocketFish Keyboard and an old RocketFish Mouse.

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That sounds great! Did you have to do anything special, or just you just pair the devices from the Bluetooth menu and that's it? –  Oak May 15 '12 at 10:12
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The Asus EEE Pad Transformer is close to what you are after and available now. I like the way it also extendes the battery life. I would wait for something with a bit more power for this purpose though. I have a feeling that using a single core arm processor with 512Mb ram in my case would feel pretty slow as a desktop experience.

Another thing to note is that Android won't support all the keyboard shortcuts that you are used to on a desktop. I hope this changes because for me it is an obvious evolution. Indeed the concept of a personal computing unit like this is something I have been waiting for for 15 years!

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typing this comment on Asus Transformer Prime - it has even a touchpad (however not everything on the web hears mouseover events when its' cursor hovers over it, especially it's true for autohiding menus in flash videoplayers) –  www0z0k May 14 '12 at 18:04
    
even better now , the padphone! tegra 3 everything device. Hope it turns out well! –  barrymac May 15 '12 at 21:11
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Google for ubuntu for android, the video demonstrates how your android phone can be connected to an external monitor and used as fully functional desktop, while still being used as android phone. Great stuff, mind blowing!!

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Ubuntu for Android indeed sounds great. However, Canonical said that they will initially work with manufacturers and carriers to build this functionality into new devices going forward. Even if/when they release it to the masses, with the hardware requirements being pretty high-end ubuntu.com/devices/android/features-and-specs (dual-core CPU 1+GHz, accelerated graphics, HDMI out, USB host) it would not work on a lot of older handsets. Other than that it's an awesome development. –  Chahk Mar 2 '12 at 17:31
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protected by Al E. Jan 6 at 20:28

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