(Corrected, with new headline: Yes, we find that the $50 Fire can do USB On-The-Go, so we’ve removed the post from tiles at the top of our home page. See Chris Meadows’s just-taken photo below. – D.R.)
This is one post I’d be glad to be corrected on. But as far as I can tell at least, Amazon’s $50 Fire, otherwise a terrific bundle of functionality for the price, can’t do USB On-The-Go (OTG). The ability to use external USB drives and memory through a micro USB OTG cable was and is so useful that Google’s original Nexus 7 tablet even had special apps brewed to make it happen. But I tried the same USB OTG cable that worked fine with my Nexus 7 2012, and the Fire’s file manager didn’t recognize at all.
This could be just an issue with my choice of file manager (File Expert HD), but I doubt it. For one thing, the Fire has always had handicaps with its external memory access, partly thanks to Amazon’s efforts to support DRM in files on the micro SD card. I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon disabled OTG access for the same reason. Or simply to keep the price down under that magic $50 price point. In any case it’s a shame, even if there are plenty of cloud-based solutions, including Amazon’s own, to access files through. The fact that I hacked my device to run the full suite of Android apps and the Google Play Store doesn’t seem to have helped. And once again, I’d welcome input from anyone else who can prove me wrong on this.