Today my Pixel phone received an update that was reported to be Android Pie. This was the general rollout of Pie, which is Android 9.x. Since I participate in the beta program I’ve actually been running an earlier version of Pie for a couple of months.
One of the new things in Pie is the ability to access the USB port for general purpose functions. Specifically, it now supports both generic UVC and UAC devices.
USB Audio support has been around for quite some time. Given a suitable USB-on-the-Go adapter I have connected a USB headset and it just worked. I’ve done this in the past, using a USB call center headset with my Nexus 5 and Pixel.
I’ve also used a miniDSP UMIK-1 calibrated microphone to make sound measurements using AudioTool. This combination worked especially well connected to the now discontinued nVidia Shield K1 tablet.
Similarly, you can connect a USB webcam and it will be available to apps on the phone. Most apps will not have access to the USB camera. They simply aren’t aware that it’s possible to have such a device.
I’ve used USB Camera along with a common Logitech webcam. The USB-Type-C-to-A adapter that comes with the phone makes the physical connection possible. Once the app is running it can record and stream the camera output.
It can be added in vMix as a stream source using a simple URL as shown below.
With a little experimentation I suspect that this could be used to record or stream the output of a UVC compliant video capture dongle. That would make the phone effectively an RTMP encoder for live streaming.
While at Cluecon last month I had occasion to connect my Pixel to Ethernet. The main stage at Clueon was in the Lucerne Room at the Swissotel, which is in the basement. There’s no T-Mobile coverage down there so I had the Pixel connected to the Cluecon Wi-Fi.
The Wi-Fi for Cluecon attendees was sensibly configured with client isolation. No-one connected to the Wi-Fi could see anyone else also connected. As it should be.
That also meant that my desktop, connected via ethernet, could not see a live stream from the Pixel while on Cluecon Wi-Fi. This got in the way when I wanted to use RTSP Camera Server to turn the Pixel into a roaming wireless camera.
As a quick experiment, I connected a USB-Ethernet adapter to the Pixel. I’ve carried one of these ever since buying the Lenovo X1 Carbon, which lacks on-board ethernet.
Putting the Pixel into airplane mode it was thus on the same wired network as the desktop. So arranged, the desktop could “see” the RTSP stream from the app.
I later discovered that the Cluecon “Presenter” Wi-Fi, a separate network, had client isolation defeated, making it possible to roamed untethered with a phone acting as a wireless camera.
Greater USB device support in Android will doubtless be handy.