As has been well reported here, amongst the accessories coming from Samsung for the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones is the Samsung DeX (RRP $199). This is a compact expansion dock, with USB and HDMI connections, and … Ethernet!
The Android OTG (“On the Go”) abilities of the USB connections on the bottom of many, maybe most, Android smart phones, allows the connecting of peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse, or a digital to analogue converter for higher quality audio, or a USB memory stick to backup photos when you may be away from cloud services and a computer.
And, at least on paper, Ethernet. That is, wired networking. There can be circumstances where this is useful. For example, you might be in a hotel somewhere and don’t quite trust its WiFi, which might make you vulnerable to a “man in the middle” attack, or could be an attacker faking the hotel WiFi. So plugging into Ethernet could be preferable. If you can.
But Samsung phones typically haven’t included the Ethernet driver. Consequently Ethernet adaptors haven’t worked.
However a driver is required for the Ethernet built into the DeX. If Samsung has gone the easy way in implementing the DeX, it will be just a clever stand with wiring to take advantage of the OTG function, and the Ethernet driver will be installed in the phone.
However, it is possible that Samsung has gone a more complicate route so that the DeX requires special drivers to work. So we’ll have to see when (or if) we get our hands on the phones.
I have the Belkin USB Type-C Ethernet adaptor here (which I reviewed some months ago), so if I can convince Samsung to let me review one of the new phones, I’ll report on how it goes with a wired Ethernet connection.
UPDATE (the next day): It had slipped my mind, but it came back to me that some Samsung devices are perfectly happy with an Ethernet connection. Specifically, my Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inch tablet. Look closely at this status bar:
The second icon from the left (at the very top), indicating a notification, looks somewhat like an Ethernet port. And so indeed does the indicator at the top right, next to the Bluetooth icon. I had plugged a USB to Ethernet adaptor into a Micro USB-B to USB Type-A adaptor, and that into the Samsung Tab’s Micro USB-B OTG port, and switched off WiFi. My Spotify music just kept on playing.
Here’s the notification:
And when you tap, you jump right to the “More connection settings” section of the setup menus:
So clearly at some point in their product development Samsung has decided that an eight inch tablet might end up being used via wired Ethernet connection, but that a phone wouldn’t.
Until, perhaps, the advent of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones. We’ll see when we get to see them.