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Nexus 4 Lacks OTG USB Cable Support, May Never Have It

A USB OTG cable, otherwise known as an on-the-go cable, can be used to help expand storage on a device with a limited amount, connect one to a gamepad, or turn your phone or tablet into a mobile workstation with a mouse and keyboard. They are a miracle tool for the mobile tech power user. Some cost as little as a $1, so if you don’t have one, I suggest you pick one up. Well, unless you own or ordered a Nexus 4 from Google. 

Originally sold as a device with OTG (USB) compatibility, that may no longer be true. In fact, within the last day, Google updated their Nexus 4 support page titled “Connect to keyboards, mice, & other devices” to say that the device supports Bluetooth connections of 3rd party devices, but not through USB. Two days ago, it said the same thing as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 pages, which say, “…to your tablet via USB or Bluetooth and use it just as you would with a PC.” The Galaxy Nexus also supports OTG cables.

Theories as to why this change happened are flying all over internet forums. Some suggest that the device was supposed to have OTG support, but that the actual USB port on the device can’t produce enough power to run a mouse, keyboard, or gamepad. Others think it’s software related, and that an update to the OS could provide support down the road. I don’t know that we’ve heard an official statement from Google, but with the changing of their official support page, I’d say that the future looks grim. I also do not think that Google meant to leave this out, as every other Nexus device certainly supports this type of activity.

It’s unfortunate, as I know that many who ordered the device were partially sold on the idea that they could connect external storage on the fly to help ease their concerns over the lack of built-in space.

Via:  Google Support

More coverage:  Google CodeXDA

Cheers Jay!

  • Scott

    I wish something similar came out for the Gnex. I would love to be able to flash my phone screen up on a monitor.

    • n900mixalot

      Huh? You already can …

  • Anton Rabin

    May never have it?? Talk about a blind allegation. It can easily be supported with a simple update, and in the worst case, a custom rom.

  • deadofknight

    Forcing you to send your private info to their database… yea. I’m not gonna send anything to any cloud server. I guess that’s the only downside I can see with a cheaper phone from Google. The 3g I can handle since I’ve had the Droid 3. I’m used to slower net speeds. The biggest reason I want this phone is because of the Root capabilities.

  • Detonation

    And the list of a feature you must sacrifice to have a Nexus continues to grow.

  • Alu Zeros

    In all reality, it’s still a good phone, finally catching up to the iphone 4s. However, I count the Nexus 4 8gb as a low end, and 16 gb as a mid end. However, Google should of came out with an high spec end with lte, and more memory if they weren’t going to include an sd card slot.

    • n900mixalot

      That’s not what the Nexus line is about. The only feature that is different is the amount of disk space. Go messing around with other junk and you’ve got less Nexus, more problem.

  • TJWaterskier

    DNA has OTG :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaul.ankush Ankush Kaul

    You can use OTG after rooting the device like in Nexus 7?

  • tgom222

    Hmm, definitely I feature I would need, especially on a phone that doesn’t have microsd expandable storage. Especially the 8GB version.

  • Michael97F

    Does anyone who already has a Nexus 4 know if you can use the USB? Maybe they’re only applying it to later devices?

  • jcorf

    Wow, not sure why I didn’t own one of these things before. Just purchased one on Amazon to go with my Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7. Thanks for putting this out there. I knew about them, just never bought one till now for some reason.

  • Matthew Merrick

    i love how so many bitched about samsung, then the N4 comes out and they’re all “my Gnex was so much better i want samsung back”

    there’s a reason samsung’s the #1 mobile tech maker in the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

    It’s concerning when the phone I bought a year ago (Galaxy Nexus) is still the phone I would buy today if I needed a new phone. Well, maybe the S3…

  • MooleyBooleyTroll

    Motorola Nexus Maxx HD

    • kixofmyg0t

      Nexus M.

  • http://twitter.com/Defenestratus Defenestratus

    Way to totally botch this phone Google.

    You’d better get your act straight for the Nexus 5 or I’m going to be strolling over to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

  • interstellarmind

    *cough* note II *cough*

    • n900mixalot

      Touch Wiz *snart* @.@

  • saimin

    Galaxy Nexus only supports limited OTG. USB keyboards will work, but USB flash drives or USB card readers do not work by default. Same goes for the Nexus 7. However, you can enable flash memory mounting via StickMount.

  • RaptorOO7

    It sure does, like memory, LTE (that is useable in the US) a real OEM who can actually build stuff for quick delivery, oh and easily broken rear glass (of course the iPhone had that first, non gorilla glass), so I guess not having OTG is just one more minor issue.

  • edude03

    LOL this is a nexus phone, now that people are saying it doesn’t have USB OTG someone is going to take it upon themselves to add it.

  • bucky500

    I’ve had my Nexus 4 for just over 2 weeks now and I enjoy it more than any other device I’ve used (and like everybody here I’ve used many). This phone was $350 off contract; the screen is beautiful; the camera is sufficient; battery life gets it done; blazing processor speed w 2 gigs of RAM. . . When I read all the ridiculous FLAME over this phone I gotta wonder who’s actually used one that’s also crying about it. No OTG shocks you suddenly then double your money on eBay.

    Stop whining about what this phone isn’t and appreciate what it is

  • Bob G

    Aren’t there wireless external hard drives now?

    • n900mixalot

      Touché

  • TheRealKingOfAllMedia

    OTG => USB port can support both host and client port. Nexus has no host port capability.
    Not a big loss actually, is it?

  • Capt. Crunch

    Thanks for the link, just ordered the cable for myself and got free shipping.

  • strider_mt2k

    These Nexus devices are too restrictive for all the fuss about ‘em.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pdenson Paul Denson

    I really am happy with my GNex running 4.1.2. Google/LG seem to have cut a lot of corners with the Nexus 4. And 4.2 offers nothing of interest to me. Just bugs and half-thought-out “features.”

    • Hunter

      Really? Half-thought-out features? Do tell…

      • http://twitter.com/Defenestratus Defenestratus

        Well… Photosphere for starters. It only works about half the time in my experience.

        • http://twitter.com/sproketz sproketz

          It works all the time for me. Just try to keep the lens of the camera in roughly the same x,y coordinate area as you pan around. If you move your arm around in large gestures you’re going to get a bad sphere. They should probably tell you that in the instructions. I get pro quality spheres every time. Just have to learn how to take them is all.

    • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

      Yea what bugs? To me 4.1 JB wasn’t the full JB. It was only half of it. just the performance but no features (not all of them at least). 4.2 is the full and real JB as it was meant to be with performance and features together.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    I’ve never had a reason for this (I didn’t even know it was possible until now), but for other reasons I’m likely never going to buy a Nexus 4.

  • Christian

    Just another theory: Maybe it has something to do with continuing to differentiate phones and tablets. A person is more likely to use a tablet as a mobile workstation (which would require a mouse, keyboard, etc.) than a phone.

  • nightscout13

    The Nexus 4 lacks alot of things…..

    • kixofmyg0t

      Like a Encrypted Bootloader.

      :P

    • Liderc

      That it does.

    • Nexus sucks

      Yet another fail for a sub par phone. When are you Fan boys going to realize this was the biggest phone failure in Android history!!! Pathetic!

      • Elliot Kotis

        Scoff, its better than most android phones, do you know what fast updates, 2gb ram, 320PPI (yes i know there are ones that are better), snapdragon quad core, etc etc etc

      • http://www.facebook.com/chill.guy.758 Chill Guy

        You weren’t breast fed as a child were you? Don’t worry its not your fault to feel insecure and lash out at other people who have it better. Remember its not your fault.

        • nightscout13

          Speaking at lashing out at other people, take a look at your posts ;)

      • imns

        Biggest fail?
        can we say Thunderbolt? Charge? Majority of Motorola phones after OG Droid/Droid X and before the new Razr? (note that includes non “droid” android phones)

        • n900mixalot

          Oh god the droid X. *pukes*

    • http://twitter.com/sproketz sproketz

      It’s lacks dissapointment from me. Best phone I’ve ever owned and I’ve owned every flagship android phone that’s been released. Great screen brightness even on auto settings even works in direct sunlight, good battery life, high audio quality with zero line noise, crazy fast speeds, faster download speeds with more reliability than LTE (in the real world, not on paper like Verizon wants you to believe), light weight, great quality camera, better OS, best call quality I’ve had, free tethering over bluetooth or wifi, I love this thing. The “short comings” are all belly aching and FUD. LG knocked it out of the park.

      • nightscout13

        Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve got ourselves a Fanboy. Fanboys typically turn a blind eye to negative points. Careful, you might start liking Apple products soon :)

        • Elliot Kotis

          Yeah, I agree. I have the Nexus 4, best phone I have ever had (since 2010 december I have owned a Samsung Jet, iPhone 3G, 3GS, Samsung Galaxy S, Google Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy S3, and now the Nexus 4). It does have a few flaws which include:

          Speaker isn’t very impressive

          Battery Life is okay not awesome

          lack of OTG (I didn’t plan on getting one, but it is all about options, if i got one for my N7 I would like to use it for my phone also, but apperently without root they dont work too well anyway).

          Lack of SD Card

          Fear of Glass backing breaking

          The LTE doesn’t bother me.

          • fixxmyhead

            what are u talking about? the speaker is actually loud. i actually have to turn it down when its on max. louder than my s2

        • http://www.facebook.com/chill.guy.758 Chill Guy

          *shaking head* Avoid hitting the post button from now on thank you.

          • nightscout13

            Yes, you should definitely do that.

      • michael arazan

        I don’t think LG knocked it out of the park, to build it they have to work with a spec list provided by Google on the renditions of being a Google Nexus phone. I’m just glad they are going to stay with a specific design for the casing to help brand the phone itself with its sleek minimalism design that they made for the GNex. If they weren’t trying to cut cost so the phone could be bought outright they could have added a ton of better hardware and software for an extra $200, making it a $600 phone full price, which I and others would have paid for.

        Maybe next time they make a Nexus phone, they can have 2 Nexus phones. One phone that is $400 and one that is $600 and has more storage and all the bells and whistles you’d get with a Flagship style phone, and one that is affordable for everyone also.

    • Bob

      FACKWORS!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/chill.guy.758 Chill Guy

      Like being behind in each software update. Yeah im Happy it lacks those type of things.

    • BLADESMAN1889

      Coming from a gun toting avatar man ! What are you lacking ?

      • nightscout13

        Sounds like someone is upset over their recent Nexus 4 purchase :P

        • BLADESMAN1889

          I wish :–) I’m still rocking a SGS1 — Not even got one on order. But I can’t see why all the apple like shite is being flung at an Android. Buy it if you like it but don’t diss it if you don’t. Each to his own.

  • brkshr

    WTF!

  • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

    “…the actual USB port on the device can’t produce enough power to run a mouse, keyboard, or gamepad.”
    I’m having this issue with my Gnex. It cant seem to produce enough power for the 360 wireless dongle. It loses power after a few seconds. I used a powered usb hub and it worked fine. Anyone else have this issue? Know how to fix it?

  • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

    The nexus 7 though does not support OTG yet it says it does on its page. I assume its a typo, besides this feature can always be added via root.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      It semi-supports it, right? Like you can hook up keyboards and mice, but not everything else?

      • Booyah

        I use an OTG for mass storage with my Nexus 7 and it works great. Have 32 GB worth of TV/movies that come in handy on the plane.

      • Sobr0801

        Might as well get a surface if you want a keyboard and mouse, aye?

        • deltatux

          Might as well get an ASUS Transformer Pad or a Vivotab where you can actually DOCK your tablet and get a keyboard and trackpad function, plus an extra battery too!

    • http://twitter.com/JaizukeD JaizukeD

      unfortunately; root doesn’t enable the Nexus 4 to support OTG ):

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.wray Jeremy Wray

    This is what developers are for. Bonus is it’s a Nexus

    • Hunter

      Yes, perhaps we can “develop” a way for the USB port to magically produce more juice. Our powers only get us so far, we are limited by hardware constraints.

      • Zero

        Or maybe some manufacturer will see demand and produce a USB OTG cable that takes power over MicroUSB? It’s an annoying workaround, but better than nothing.

  • sahilm

    I want to say first that I think the Nexus 4 is an amazing device still and I love Google, BUT:

    1. Completely screwed up ordering
    2. Glass (read: BREAKABLE) back
    3. No LTE (They have their reasons, but we can’t pretend that it’s not important).
    4. Now this.

    When do we realize that everything about this phone has been screwed by Google.

    • nightscout13

      It’s cause they chose LG. That was the mistake.

      • TheFirstUniverseKing

        None of those issues relate to LG, outside of the first one (if even that). Google chose to not implement LTE and to encase the phone in glass.

        • Butters619

          The Optimus G has a glass back, which is what the Nexus 4 is sort of based on. Also, if this is an under-powered USB issue, I could also see that as an LG problem.

        • Mapekz

          I want to feel the same way and I did leading into the Nexus 4’s release but as more and more details crop up it’s appropriate to label LG as the source of all these issues. Let’s hope they don’t mess up next year’s Nexus 4, unless of course Google decides it’s time to choose Motorola to make it which would be awesome.

    • Pedro

      1. Got mine this week after ordering last week.
      2. Back still glass, though I have an ill-fitting Ringke Slim case on it (new, supposedly better fitting, one to be delivered next week). I also used the same style case for ny GNex. *I* like them. Others may not.
      3. Got a T-Mob SIM in it for $30 unlimited 4G. Speeds are more than adequate, since I never got to to turn on the LTE on the GNex. After a couple days, no real issues. Much better price/performance (for me) than VZW.

      I have much bigger issues with VZW than the Nexus 4, and will likely have the entire family on pre-paid plans by this time next year for half the price.
      The Nexus 4 doesn’t have to be the ultimate device, it just has to work for me and mine in the areas we work and live.

      • Christopher Riner

        You do know that those $30 t-mob prepaid cards are only 4g up to the first 100 megabytes, right? I was just reading the fine print on them yesterday.

        • Angryuinibrow

          Wrong. $30 prepaid, 5GB data. I use the same thing. You only get 100 minutes, unlimited text.

          • Christopher Riner

            Maybe where you live, but in Virginia its only 100 mb. I almost left Verizon for the nexus 4 until I read that. But my point was that everyone calls it unlimited 4g. The way I use unlimited data, I could burn through 5 gigs in a day or two. If it was truly unlimited 4g then I might sacrifice verizons great coverage and blazing speeds (again, I live in a rural area and still get speeds of like 35 and 15), and if the T-Mobile cards actually delivered what they advertised I would’ve left. Not sure how well I would do with only 100 minutes, tho.

    • Kizipotamus

      Not sure why people care so much about LTE on it. It’s not compatible with the only network that really has LTE (in the US), and DC HSPA+ is basically just as fast. LTE is only important because it’s a buzzword.

      • Tyler

        That wont be the case in a year or so from now when networks expand out and cover more people. Sure right now its not a big deal when comparing hspa+ to lte but most people don’t get new phones every year when its more of an advantage.

      • S2556

        Upload speeds on dc-hspa+ is not even close to an overloaded lte network. Downloads may be closer though. I would not call lte a buzz word. 4g is a buzz word as is retina display

        • Kizipotamus

          I get 2-5 mbps upload on T-Mobile. That’s far and away more than what a phone needs.

          • kixofmyg0t

            2-5Mbps? LOL.

          • Kizipotamus

            I fail to see why that’s funny.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001458670467 Tyler Cameron

            Those are the speeds Verizon advertises for their uplink.

          • kixofmyg0t

            Well I get much faster speeds than that.

          • Kizipotamus

            And what good does that do you on a cell phone? Spoiler: None.

          • kixofmyg0t

            Well what good does anything but making calls do you on a cell PHONE? Spoiler: None.

            Listen dude, I enjoy the speed. Downloading things(hey a entire ROM for my Xoom in a few seconds? SWEET!), Youtube, Netflix, game data downloads(which are now in the hundreds of megabytes), dropbox uploads and downloads, app updates, torrents…..no wait you were TOTALLY right extra speed provides no benefit at all. In fact lets all go back to EDGE because your logic says we don’t need to advance.

            So what good does bitching about something you obviously don’t have? Spoiler:Jealous.

          • Kizipotamus

            You just named a bunch of things that use *Download* speed. We were discussing *Upload* previously. And the download speed you posted is frequently gotten with HSPA+. Your point is moot.

          • kixofmyg0t

            Hmmm yes you are right. Speed has absolutely no use for a cell phone. I suppose I should forget Skype, or uploading YouTube videos(because NOBODY ever uploads anything to YouTube), Seeding torrents, uploading toDropbox or Google Drive.

            Care to post your speed? If those speeds are so easily attained then why are you complaining in the first place?

            Actually now that I think about it, since you think Noone needs anything faster than 2Mbps, *I* think that’s WAAAAAAY to fast.(If you can complain why can’t I?). In fact 24Kbps is fast enough for a cell phone. Yeah let’s make that the standard. No need to advance the technology whatsoever.

          • Kizipotamus

            I’m now positive you have reading comprehension problems. I never complained about anything. Also, I never said speed has no use. Stop over-exaggerating what other people say.

            My point is that the network speed has diminishing returns. Downloading a 5mb app in 1 second instead of 1.5 seconds? Who cares? You seriously can’t spare that extra .5 seconds of your life? DC HSPA+ is as fast as LTE in most places, and for the average consumer both are more than sufficient.

            Cool your jets, bro.

          • kixofmyg0t

            You said that 2-5Mbps was “far and away more than a phone needs”, that sounds like complaining to me.

            A 5MB app? Sure ill agree with that. But Need for Speed:Most Wanted (which I downloaded during this conversation) requires a 571MB download. You DO realize that’s more than 5MB and would be painfully long to download on your utopian 2Mbps connection right? Spoiler:It’s gonna take longer than 1.5 seconds.

            Cool your story Bro.

          • Kizipotamus

            Once again, you’re mixing up Upload and Download speeds. I said 2-5mbsp is sufficient upload speed.

          • kixofmyg0t

            Once again you’re complaining about a advancement of the technology. I’m saying that 5Mbps isn’t fast enough and why SHOULDN’T we have faster? You’re arguing against progress. Historicly not a cool move.

            Spoiler:Technology will advance no matter how much you complain. Now get off my lawn.

          • Kizipotamus

            Seriously? We’re still on the complaining thing. Quote me where I made a complaint, and not a statement.

          • kixofmyg0t

            Now who’s the one with reading comprehension problems? Spoiler: Complaints are statements too.

            You know what’s awesome? You can complain ALL you want about how fast or slow LTE is but you know what? Given more time, we’re gonna have phones with even faster speeds. Upload and download speeds that we don’t “need”. Oh and guess what? Quad Cores are going to be midrange, 2GB of RAM will be considered “meh” and your wonderful 2Mbps upload speed will be looked at the same way we look at BlackBerry now. Pathetic.

            Whether you like it or not, LTE is coming no matter if you think we “need” it. But please, I enjoy reading your attempt at always trying to have the last word. I’m dying to see your response to this. Perhaps another stab at my lack or reading skills?

          • Kizipotamus

            It’s funny that you still can’t quote when I complained about something. As it never happened.

          • kixofmyg0t

            I already explained that over an hour ago dude, where have you been?

            Spoiler:Reading comprehension problem.

          • Jonas

            Haha, I bet you’re the guy who pretends to be smart by talking loudly and a lot.

          • n900mixalot

            Hahaha

          • Zero

            From an outside perspective, I see no complaints.

            He said that he doesn’t need LTE. That’s not a complaint.

            A complaint would be something like, “LTE is a piece of trash, and I would never use this inferior technology.” Not “HSPA+ is good enough, I don’t need LTE, even if it might be a bit faster.”

          • kixofmyg0t

            Can you not read? He never ever said that *HE* doesn’t need LTE, he said that LTE was more than a phone needs. Later I posted a screen shot of a recent speed test, he then (and I’m paraphrasing) said what good does that do you? None.

            That’s complaining my friend. The “why do you need more than this?” argument is complaining. Saying “LTE is a piece of trash” blah blah blah isn’t really complaining, it’s just trash talking/ridiculing.

            Most of us are on Verizon. So our choices are 1Mbps 3G or LTE….do you not see why we’re all for LTE? I’m not even bashing HSPA+, I think it’s great actually. But saying we don’t need anything more? No, that’s not how this works guy. Just a few months ago people complained that we don’t NEED more than 1GB of RAM in our phones. They listed various(BS) reasons trying to support their claim and now what happened? All of them shut up once the N4 was revealed. A year ago 720p screens were “the most we’ll ever need” and “you can’t see more than 300ppi”, “720p is good enough we don’t need a battery sucking 1080p screen” etc. The DNA shut those people up.

            If this was about a car and I saw someone who has a Camaro ZL1, looked at my car and said “this V6 is far and away more than a car needs, what good does that V8 do you? Spoiler None”. Do you understand now?

          • OligarchyAmbulance

            All that stuff requires fast download speeds, which lte and hspa are very competitive in. There’s a reason upload speeds in most places are lower than download…it’s less important.

          • nightscout13

            It’s called progress. To avoid progress just because you like the Nexus 4, is asinine.

        • http://twitter.com/sproketz sproketz

          HSPA+ has been hands down faster and more reliable than LTE in my area. Verizon LTE sucked. Bad coverage, drop offs, issues galore on my old GNex. By comparison going to t-mobile has been like getting a get out of jail card.

      • Liderc

        No, LTE is important because it’s on the largest network in the US and it’s fast. “basically just as fast” isn’t LTE.

        • Kizipotamus

          So if the Nexus 4 had LTE, you’d magically get it to work on a CDMA network?

          • http://twitter.com/Defenestratus Defenestratus

            No. Google would get a Nexus 4 to magically work on a CDMA network, just like they did with the Galaxy Nexus, and Apple did with the iPhone 5.

            Its not impossible – Google just was lazy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001458670467 Tyler Cameron

            Hey, you know companies have to pay Qualcomm very high royalties to use features like that? Sure, they could’ve included CDMA and LTE, but the price would go up to $500.

        • http://www.facebook.com/chill.guy.758 Chill Guy

          Ugh you sound like one of those annoying Verizon sales people in the mall. Take your finger out of your butt and stick it in your mouth for sounding like such a tool.

        • deltatux

          unfortunately, in Canada, where it’s the only country where the Nexus 4 does have LTE isn’t much faster than DC-HSPA+. The only difference is in ping reduction but most people aren’t playing FPS online on their phones anyways and it does drain your battery like a mofo, so LTE is kind of mute on the Nexus 4.

    • Liderc

      Exactly. I love all things Nexus, but this is a failure. Every turn there’s another failure and this is just the next in line. Am I bitter it’s not on Verizon? Sure, but that’s their problem, not even giving LTE users a choice.

    • http://twitter.com/sproketz sproketz

      HSPA+ has been more reliable and faster than Verizon LTE on my Nexus4. Call quality is also twice as good on T-Mobile over verizon. Not sure what i’m supposed to be missing about LTE exactly but at least in south florida LTE must suck or something. HSPA+ is fast as all get out, i drive around all day streaming music and can when I use the tethering in my house I get better speeds than my wifi… It screams. All this LTE bellyaching needs to be put to sleep already.

      There is nothing about my old Galaxy Neuxs that is better than the 4, aside from the memory size and I never even used more than 10gb anyway.