I have bought a XOOM WiFI, and would like to know if it would be possible to connect it to internet using an external USB UMTS Stick (Huawei E122 HSPA USB Stick). I am aware this is not supported out of the box, I would like to know what would entail trying to connect it to a USB key which by default comes with drivers for desktop operating systems.

  • I assume USB key = USB WiFi connector? (I'm just not familiar with that usage). – Matthew Read May 16 '11 at 20:37
  • I updated the question, I'm talking about a HSPA USB stick, one that uses the mobile phone network to connect to the internet – bibendus May 16 '11 at 21:06

If you mean a USB ethernet adapter, then if you have one that has [fully open source] drivers in the mainline linux kernel, it may be as simple as recompiling the kernel for your xoom, installing it, and getting one of the USB otg adapter cables people have been using to read usb memory sticks on xooms. Fortunately the xoom seems more open to modified kernels than their phones.

Once it is available in the kernel, you may also need to figure out how to tell android to use that network interface - notice there's no ifconfig binary (though people have made their own). You might check with the android beagle board and android x86 projects to see how they initialize ethernet adapaters.

  • Hi Chris, thanks for your answer. Unluckily I'm not talking about a ethernet adapter, please look at the updated question. – bibendus May 16 '11 at 21:09
  • Actually that would be the same process, if you can get an open source linux kernel driver for the stick (ie, to use it on an x86 pc) you should be able to build that for android just as for a wired ethernet adapter. Binary blobs to download to the stick are ok (well, controversial, but not a cross compile issue) but binary only kernel modules will not work unless the manufacturer provides an android-compatible arm version. – Chris Stratton May 16 '11 at 21:33
  • I don't think there is one available, I never developed a driver myself and I guess reverse engineering it from a closed source one would not be straightforward. As I said above the stick I'm talking about is a Huawei E122. – bibendus May 16 '11 at 21:41
  • Well, I wouldn't buy one to use it with an android tablet; but if you already have it, don't give up yet. First it seems that the USB interface just works as a normal USB-serial converter (so the kernel part should be easy), and the hard part is userspace configuration. Here's a report from someone claiming to have had made it work on a gentoo linux box: forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-840212-start-0.html It might be worth actually making mini/liveCD gentoo install and repeating his process on a desktop before trying to do it on the tablet. – Chris Stratton May 17 '11 at 2:54

As of right now, I'm going to say you can't do this. Android 3.1 just added USB host support, so it is technically possible, though someone would need to build drivers or an application to take advantage of it.

  • Thank you very much for the links, the XOOM would be my first android device therefore I'm totally new to all this. This would be technically possible then? And it would entail writing a driver for the USB stick using the Android SDK? The USB stick I'm talking about is Huawei E122, by the way. – bibendus May 16 '11 at 21:40

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