Turn Phone Into USB Keyboard

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  1. jjcobm

    jjcobm Well-Known Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to make a request to you developers. I was wondering if it would be possible to make an app that will turn the phone into a USB keyboard. Meaning, if I plug in my phone into say a computer or similar device, I can type using the phone.

    The main reason for this would be to use in a situation were you don't have access to a physical keyboard to plug into a device to type (which is the situation right now). I am sure the device might have to be rooted, which is no problem.

    Let me know what you guys think and if it can be done. :D


    bhuvan_space likes this.
  2. Vmkice

    Vmkice Member

    Hmm, nice idea. I may try, but not sure how I would approach it. May just let a root application developer do this one.

  3. bdrehmer

    bdrehmer Member

    I was thinking about releasing this type of 'phone is a keyboard' thing, but wasn't sure if it would be useful. I have been working on this project lately: android-pcbcr - Project Hosting on Google Code. The idea of it is that the phone scans a barcode and sends the data over the network to the PC where the keystrokes are then simulated. So if sending the data over a network to the PC is acceptable instead of plugging in a USB cable, then it wouldn't take too much effort to adapt the code to send the keystrokes from the phone instead of the barcode data. It wouldn't require root access on the phone. What do you think? Your USB idea is more flexible (don't need to have network access), but I wouldn't know how to do that at the moment.
  4. jjcobm

    jjcobm Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the replies, I am glad to know you developers find this idea to be handy also. bdrehmer, it seems like you have the right foundation/idea for the application. I believe this app itself would have many uses for a lot of people. Maybe you and Vmkice can split the workload??? :D

    I am not much of a developer at all, but I was thinking about a way to get the computer to recognize the android phone as a keyboard. Would it be possible to somehow "simulate" a standard generic keyboard so that most any computer type device can pick it up without needing any special software. My idea was you open up the app on your phone, then there would be a checkbox that would say something like "enable keyboard emulation". The user checks the box and then the computer would detect a generic xxx key keyboard.

    This is sort of along the lines of the way the ADB "debugging" mode works when you click the checkbox in the settings/applications menu. When you check the box, windows or the OS detects the ADB device and installs the appropriate drivers.

    Regardless, I hope to see what progress you guys can make of it. Again, thanks for all the replies so far.
  5. jjcobm

    jjcobm Well-Known Member

    Forgot to mention, the network idea wouldn't be bad also. You could possibly have both features and if the user wants to use the keyboard over the network all he would have to do is install the appropriate software like you already have...
  6. bdrehmer

    bdrehmer Member

    I'll volunteer to do the data over network part. I think that probably it is possible to do over USB too, but I don't really think I want to get into that myself (aside: maybe the adb or USB tethering code could shed some insight on how to do this?). Like you say, maybe the app could have the option of choosing which mode to use, USB or WiFi. If somebody wants to join the project and work on the USB part that'd be great.

    Project home will be here:
    android-pckbd - Project Hosting on Google Code
  7. StefanVOtt

    StefanVOtt New Member

    I may begin developing an app soon that sends keystrokes over USB to a computer as a generic keyboard. The only problem is, I can't find anything online about how to make the phone emulate a keyboard... Not sure if it's even possible. So if anyone can find even the smallest ray of light in that direction, I would be very grateful and would gladly put something together to accommodate jjcobm's request.
  8. aflores3

    aflores3 New Member

    Holy thread resurrection, Batman!
    Sorry to bring up such an old post, but I haven't seen anything else pertaining to this as it is exactly what I am looking for.

    I have a carPC. Right now I stash a small usb keyboard in my console, but it would be so much better to use my phone as a usb keyboard. I already plug it in when I get in my car for charging and tethering, so sending keystrokes over USB would be invaluable to me. Although not a developer myself, I would love to help any way possible to contribute back.
  9. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    My guess is that implementing a Bluetooth keyboard would be easier and more useful. Either way, it will probably require a rooted phone.
  10. tykisson

    tykisson New Member

    This would be a great app for me as a field engineer traveling to ships to work on touchscreen monitors. I would pay for this!
  11. Jaycephus

    Jaycephus New Member

    I just found this thread looking for something similar. I would like an app that acts like a USB keyboard 'device', but with customizable buttons that issues various keyboard combinations or keystrokes with a single press. So a button could issue a 'Ctrl-Z', another button would do a 'Ctrl-Alt-C', or whatever you configure. Additionally, it might be desirable to have a type of button that latches in with one press, i.e., holds the key-stroke or combo ON, and then another press, unlatches it.

    I'm sure gamers might love to have this sitting beside their regular keyboard, but I'm thinking of using it with art programs, where either I'm holding a graphic pen tablet in front of me and would like a little keyboard device for my left hand, OR when I'm sketching on a keyboardless tablet PC, having a small little keyboard-shortcut device plugged in would be awesome.

  12. NightShadow02

    NightShadow02 New Member

    This is exactly what I need as well. Just got my tablet pc and am looking to Ctrl+Z with the touch of a touchscreen.
  13. Odin Zifer

    Odin Zifer New Member

  14. Jaycephus

    Jaycephus New Member

    I'd pay $10 without even thinking about it for a customizable keyboard shortcut app. The only problem would be that you would probably lose wired-USB tether capability in keyboard mode, thus using the phone as your internet connection for the PC while playing a MMORPG and trying to use the phone in USB-keyboard mode all at the same time is probably not doable, though wireless tether could still work in that situation.

  15. Jaycephus

    Jaycephus New Member

    I've got a middle-click custom pop-up working with my tablet PC using an Auto-Hotkey (AHK) script available here:
    RADIAL MENU scripts

    Note that with my tablet PC, I bought a Wacom 2-button pen to use instead of the included 1-button pen, just so I could keep the right-click functionality, and use the 2nd button for middle click to use with this pop-up radial menu script.

  16. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    I wrote to the senior author asking him to release the source code. He said they will release it next week.
  17. almack64

    almack64 New Member

    Has there been any new development. This exactly what I was looking for.
  18. johanronstrom

    johanronstrom Member


    iTap mobile for android has has a keyboard that does this over the network.

  19. Aselby

    Aselby Active Member


    have you heard anything yet ? I would love to see the source for this, I was reading through the documentation they had (the slide show and the report) it looks like they had to put a custom rom on there phone to make this work (everything seemed to be in the bootimage). I don't know if you looked at that stuff but doesn't sound that way to you ?

    If that is the case it doesn't seem like you could make an app (root or not) you would have to create a complete custom rom to get this working ?
  20. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    I wrote again to Prof. Stavrou on March 16th after seeing almack64's post, but he hasn't responded yet. I will post back here if I hear from him.
  21. John_D1

    John_D1 Member

    I'd be interested in further developements with regards to this - i've been searching for a bluetooth keyboard thats compatible with the PS3 for ages, then it just dawned on me to look for a USB option last night!
  22. RazzleFnDazzle

    RazzleFnDazzle Well-Known Member

    There are a few networked remotes out there. In fact I plan on adding a new one in about a week or two. Since mine isn't out yet I'll recommend GMote.
  23. slinkz

    slinkz New Member

    Please make this app. Having the ability to turn my android phone into a bluetooth keyboard that i'd be able to use with my xoom would be great.
  24. Almaz

    Almaz New Member

    Any updates for the project. I'm looking as well to use my phone as PC USB Keyboard. We carry our phones with us all the time but carrying USB keyboard is always a problem.
  25. ARAlyenz

    ARAlyenz New Member


    I think a good app would be a Universal "Adaptor" with following options:

    USB <-> *
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> WiFi Card.(compatible with Ethereal and Aircrack-ng)
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> 3G Modem.
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Bluetooth Dongle
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> WebCam (with Mic)
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> SoundCard (to use with skype as a usb phone)
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Mosue (using accelerometer and buttons)
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Keyboard
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> QRCode/Barcode Reader
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Voice Decoding Mic (translates voice to keystrokes).
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> Joystick/Joypad.
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> uSD CardReader (I believe it is done automatically).
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> FM Tunner
    - Make your phone behave as a USB <-> GPS

    (I think it is important requiere not additional drivers, and use standard ones as possible). If drivers/program is required program should first populate as USB MassStorage device and provide them (if required dewloading from internet).

    Bluetooth <-> *
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> SoundCard (to use with skype as a BT phone)
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Mosue (using accelerometer and buttons)
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Keyboard
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Mosue (using accelerometer and buttons)
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Keyboard
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Barcode Reader
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Voice Decoding Mic (translates voice to keystrokes).
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> Joystick/Joypad.(Like WiiMote, but for PC).
    - Make your phone behave as a Bluetooth <-> GPS

    Wifi <-> *
    - Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> WebCam
    - Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> 3G Router (to share internet).
    - Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> Sound Card (DLNA).
    - Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> Security Cam (take photo when image changes or periodically, and sending via email or uploading to ftp).
    - Make your phone behave as a WiFi <-> WebCam (DLNA).

    And maybe there are much more possibilities (using USB Host mode on tablets).

    There are many apps that implement one of this features, but having one that implements all of them would be great!! :)

    I add my email address, I can be beta tester alyenz_at_gmail_com


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