Honeycomb <3 usb devices

We have been developing an e-worksheet style application for the past month now, testing was done on the Acer Iconica A500. So here is a little review about Honeycomb, and the device, with focus on the USB port.



For me, the usb port is the most interesting part of the A500, it can now (since android 3.1) be used with a keyboard and now a mouse too.
Two usb ports should be the standard now, not just one, so a hub or a dock could be skipped, and these tablets could be used in more productive situations.

This code should get the currently connected devices:

  1. UsbManager manager = (UsbManager) getSystemService(Context.USB_SERVICE);
  2.         HashMap<String, UsbDevice> deviceList = manager.getDeviceList();
  3.         Iterator<UsbDevice> deviceIterator = deviceList.values().iterator();
  4.         while (deviceIterator.hasNext()) {
  5.                 UsbDevice device = deviceIterator.next();
  6.                 Log.d(TAG, device.getDeviceName());
  7.         }

It does not work with a mouse, nor a keyboard. It even works when you connect the device to itself, or with a pendrive. You can also charge other phones and devices on the usb port, but an android phones usb storage is inaccesable.
I guess Google did not want keylogging applications to pop up everywhere, so manipulating the keyboard or mouse is not an option right now.

A pendrive is connected to the /mnt/usb_storage folder:


Playing Transport tycoon is awesome with a mouse :)


Functionality is great, the mouse and keyboard work as they should. For obvious reasons, the windows key, and most of the function keys do nothing on the keyboard.
The mouse cursor disappears if the user touches the screen, so it won't accidently get in the way. The mouse's left, right and middle click do the same thing, which is tap or tap and hold. The wheel works as it should, which comes in handy while using the browser. It works all around the system, but some 3rd party apps did not implement it yet, so it doesn't work everywhere.

I have yet to try out some gamepads and other devices, but even with just the keyboard and mouse, the usage possibilities really widened, honeycomb tablets are now almost as useful as netbooks, just look out for those devices that have integrated usb-host ports. A few months from now, they might be even in the same price zone which would be nice.