Tech Solutions

Get more out of your Android Smartphone with 4 essential accessories

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Device-specific or universal, here are the accessories that can take your Android smartphone to the next level.

Android phone with speaker, cable and hard drive

1. Netgear Push2TV

The ability to beam the contents of your smartphone to a big display can be very handy whether it be for a presentation or just kicking back on the couch for some entertainment.

Netgear’s Push2TV (PTV3000) is a wireless streaming device that works with almost any Android handset. The tiny little box disappears behind the television or monitor and connects via HDMI with the power being conveniently delivered from the display’s USB port.

It will work with any Android smartphone or tablet that supports the Miracast standard, including Samsung Galaxy phones, the HTC One, the Sony Xperia Z/Z1, and the Nexus 4. Microsoft has baked Miracast right into Windows 8.1 so you can also use the Netgear Push2TV to beam your PC.

What’s nice about Push2TV is that unlike Apple’s AirPlay, you don’t need a Wi-Fi network for it to work which makes it extremely handy for client presentations while out on the road.

2. Micro USB to HDMI Adapter 

Sometimes wireless just doesn’t cut it. Whether it is beaming Full HD video or demonstrating an app as a part of a presentation, lag will always be an issue. Or if you just happen to be presenting in a room that doesn’t handle wireless signals all that well then you need to go wired with a micro USB to HDMI adapter.

All current Android handsets support the same micro USB standard and some adapters come with an additional USB connector for power. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 owners should note that the phone uses the new micro USB 3.0 standard and as a result will not work with your run of the mill adapters. Samsung sells a micro USB 3.0 to HDMI adapter so Note 3 owners will be best served there.

3. Perform Functions Using Near Field Communication (NFC) Tags

NFC tags are essentially stickers with tiny chips inside that can be programmed to perform specific smartphone functions simply by tapping the NFC enabled device.

From changing phone settings, launching apps to even sending an email or text message, NFC tags can be a convenient way to automate those otherwise mundane smartphone tasks in your life. 

Have one in your car and with a single tap you can have your smartphone connect to your in-car Bluetooth and launch the Navigation app or why not have one installed at your desk for switching your phone to silent and connect to your work’s Wi-Fi network. 

NFC tags can even be used to store data such as business card information so you can stow one away inside your wallet and use it as an emergency business card.

4. Free Yourself from Cables with Wireless Charging

It’s hard to go back to wired once you have tasted the freedom of wireless charging. After all, who wouldn’t want to charge their phone by just plonking it down on a mat and walking away?

Android smartphones such as Google’s own Nexus 5 have wireless charging built right into the handset but you can get the same result by purchasing a back cover that will work with any current Android smartphone.

There are a few different wireless charging standards out on the market but the Qi standard is your best bet with a number of back covers and mats available on the market.

All the major manufacturers including Google, LG, Samsung and Sony sell wireless charging accessories and there are a number of aftermarket options available as well. You can also buy larger mats that can charge more devices at once. 

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