Accessing USB Media Without Rooting Your Device
Up till recently, the conventional wisdom for anyone wanting to view the contents of flash drives and other USB storage was to 'root' their device, unlocking it and enabling the use of the 'StickMount' app to give access to the out-board files. This does indeed work, and having rooted my device, I can confirm that StickMount does indeed mount my plugged-in USB devices now showing as SDCard 01 in File Manager.
However, if you don't like the idea of rooting your device and all its warranty implications, you can now do something to let you view and stream media files.
Play Store now carries a paid-for app called Nexus Media Importer, which for UK users costs £1.87. I'm guessing that's about $3.00US. This allows for pictures, music and movies to be viewed and streamed. You do however need the On-The-Go (OTG) version of the USB lead, but these are dirt-cheap on e-bay and Amazon.
The drive needs to have a conventional format like FAT32 or NTFS to be detected. There's a stripped-down version of the app for free, called Nexus Photo Viewer, which as its name implies, only allows viewing of jpegs.
I'm guessing that you'd need to steer clear of any drives that take significant power from the USB port though. A flickering LED is one thing, driving an electric motor is something else entirely!
11-11-2012 03:40 AM
I agree with what you say. Let me expand on how I access USB media ... and DVD/CD data and fixed disk content.
At home, I have a Windows 7 system that "runs all the time". It has shared folders, a shared DVD drive, and a shared USB backup drive. Via ES File Explorer and WiFi, I can access files on that "server".
To read a temporarily inserted "drive" would require physical access and action ... but can be done.