Mar 25, 2013
Android is a great OS, and its more open nature than iOS means that it can do a lot of things that are more in the purview of what a traditional computer can do. But if you want to access files from a USB storage device, well too bad! Android doesn’t have default support for that. Enter Nexus Media Importer, an app that can help achieve at least half of the USB drive access solution.
Plug in a low-power USB storage device (only use hard drives if they’re externally-powered_ in to an Android device with USB host capability (likely through a micro-USB to female USB port cable, though some tablet docks have full-size female USB ports), and then open up Nexus Media Importer. The app will show the files that you have on the device, and then it can download them to your Android device, seemingly using a method that involves ‘downloading’ the file just as a web download would work. This can also view photos straight from the USB device. Not sure if you device works? Use the Nexus Photo Viewer which can only view photos, and serves as the glorified demo for the full version of the app.
Now, the app’s grand flaw, as one could possibly assume from the title, is that it is only good for importing files from a USB device, and not so much for exporting them. This may be due to a limitation of non-rooted devices, but still, it takes away a lot of the utility of the app. As a way to do one-way transfers while on the go, like importing large audio or video files from a USB drive, it’s handy. But for sending anything you do back from Android, like taking photos/videos and giving them to someone, well, that’s gonna require a more traditional file transfer method. Also, the app interfered with USB Audio Recorder Pro, which also interacts with USB host devices.
So as such, I find myself curious as to the utility of this. Perhaps for those who need to get photos off of SD cards and don’t have a built-in SD card reader, this may help. Watching videos works as well. But USB file transfer works a lot better as a two-way proposition, and thus this app, while it works, only does so much.