Jumpstart Your Android Project - Part 1
Many companies are faced with beginning a new project involving hardware, software component(s), or operating systems (e.g. Android) they’ve had little or no experience with. Several companies offer development boards and Android releases, but offer little in the way of support other than general release notes or a wiki. This article will describe ways in which we at SDG Systems can help you jumpstart your Android project. We continually ask ourselves this question: how can we help our partners get to market faster and more easily, at a reasonable cost? This question has an ever-evolving answer, one that we hope will help you develop and deliver your solution.
One of the quickest ways to jumpstart your project is by selecting some commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. Most COTS hardware, though, is not well-suited to customization. A few devices, however, shine in comparison to others in this area. SDG Systems supports all of the devices discussed here with both hardware and software customizations.
PAR Tablet 5
The PAR Tablet 5 from PAR Technology Corp is a modular Android device with a 5” HD display. The design can accommodate a Smart Back module that connects to the main system board through a pogo pin USB design. That is, it provides a flexible way of expanding the device to enable data collection peripherals like barcode scanning, RFID, magnetic card readers (MCR), printing, and other sensors. The PAR Tablet 5 provides the power, flexibility, battery life, and ruggedness to be an all-day workhorse for enterprise and industrial applications. PAR Tablet 8 and 10 variations are also available (approximate 8” and 10” displays, respectively).
The PROPORT is a 10” Android tablet from AD Technologies. The PROPORT has a unique “core processing” design. The modular core (processor, memory, storage) can be used to produce tablets of other sizes and features without significantly changing the software. In its default 10” configuration, the PROPORT has multiple USB host ports and a flexible bay arrangement so you can add your product peripherals into one of the two bays. The PROPORT is designed primarily for fixed mount applications, with standard VESA mounting holes and an approximate battery life of a few hours. Combined with mounts from ProClip and printers from Printek, the PROPORT is a powerful and flexible tablet solution.
Editor's Note 6/9/15: The PROPORT tablet is no longer being sold.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Samsung is well-known for their consumer products but in recent years, they have been enhancing their mobile products to work well in the enterprise market. Samsung KNOX is a set of software changes that enhance the security, management and services of the Galaxy devices. In addition, Samsung is now producing enterprise-specific tablets, like the Galaxy Tab Active and Galaxy Tab A. We are a KNOX Customization partner, allowing us to implement these specialized features on the Samsung tablets.
SDG Systems is working with various hardware manufacturers to support kiosk applications, barcode scanning sleds, and other hardware add-ons for Samsung tablets. To promote adding peripherals to these tablets, SDG Systems partners with LAVA Manufacturing, supporting the SimulCharge adapter which provides simultaneous power and USB Host support to the tablets.
Update 7/13/16: The SimulCharge adapter is no longer available.
Trimble Juno T41
The Trimble Juno T41 is our toughest unit while still providing a degree of hardware customization potential. Built to demanding MIL-STD-810G and IP65 or IP68 standards, the T41 can be submerged in liquid and exposed to extreme temperatures or dust while still providing a familiar ‘smartphone’ experience. Expansion comes in the form of a USB host port (pogo pin connector) with a screw connection. One of our clients has used this feature to attach a data acquisition board via USB. When rugged mobility is a top requirement, the T41 needs to be at the top of your list for consideration.
To jumpstart your Android project, SDG Systems provides several options to get you moving quickly. In our next article, I will discuss the software features and components that SDG provides to extend the functionality of Android.