Windows 10 smartphones can act as USB hosts

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Microsoft adds USB Dual Role support to Windows 10, giving smartphones with the OS the ability to host connected USB components such as keyboards, mice, storage media, and USB hubs.

Windows 10 gets support for USB Dual Role and the reversible ‘type c’ connection of USB 3.1. During WinHEC, Microsoft revealed some scenarios that come within reach of devices with the OS. For example, USB accessories such as keyboards, mice, hubs and storage media will soon be able to be connected directly to smartphones, with the mobile serving as a host. Windows 10 on smartphones also offers out-of-the-box support for USB audio equipment such as speakers and microphones.

The OS gets support for the most important drivers by default, but driver installation is not an issue so for other USB components apps will have to use WinUSB-like APIs. Support for USB 3.1’s ‘type-c’ connector will further ensure that Windows 10 smartphones can charge faster and that they can also charge other connected devices. Finally, the Alternate Mode will ensure that mobile phones will soon be able to be connected to external screens via the USB ‘type c’ connection, with the displayport video signal running over the cable.

Incidentally, Google already announced that the type-c connector will also come to Android phones and Android has included USB-on-the-go support since version 3.1, although this functionality is not available on all Android devices.

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