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Droid Hack Controls Printers, Cameras, Others

Hackers have figured out a way to enable the Motorola Droid to play host to a variety of Linux-based USB devices. This means that the smartphone can directly connect and control printers, TV tuners, video cameras, and many other devices that speak Linux. The mod was created by Mike Baker of OpenWRT and Mike Kershaw from Kismet, and shared with the public by Chris Paget in this blog.

Fortunately, this "hack" doesn't require a re-installation of the Android OS. Instead, it merely requires a charging cable donning a cigarette lighter adapter, a USB extender cable, and a micro-USB cable--all of this will used to make an improvised micro-dongle and a connector cable.

The blog indicates that it's an easy step to connect the Droid to the peripheral: merely turn off the device, plug the micro-dongle into the USB port, and then turn the Droid back on. Once the Motorola logo disappears, owners simply unplug the micro-dongle.

"You don’t even need to root your Droid in order to verify it works," the blog states. "Once your Droid is booted, pull up a terminal and look at dmesg--after plugging in your USB peripheral using the cable you made earlier you should see the usual kernel notifications about new USB devices being connected; they’ll also turn on (or start charging) if they’re powered by USB."

The blog also states that the standard Android kernel doesn't offer much in USB peripheral driver support. However Paget said that Droid owners will see a whole new generation of Android "hackery" soon. Sounds like a good day to upgrade.