I thinking about using android tablets for our scouting team this year and I was wondering what tablets I should get. And where is the cheapest place to get them? I want to keep the price under $140 per tablet. Any other suggestions would be appreciated as well.
We are considering using this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0EJ-0019-00005
I have one that I’m testing with, and it’s pretty good for the price. I’m writing a custom app for entering the information. Here is the code for what I have so far if you’re interested: https://github.com/FRCTeam225/MatchScouting
Were you able to test this tablet out with an USB to Ethernet connector? If so, did it work well?
My plan for getting the data off the tablet was to use adb network forwarding to allow the tablet to connect to a web server running on a host computer (all the tablets would be connect to this computer in the stands).
I like your idea of using ethernet since it removes a lot of the complexity with spawning adb instances automatically for each tablet. I ordered one of these adapters that I’m going to try with a USB OTG cable. I’ll let you know how it works when I get it.
I’m not sure if this has the functionality you need but in terms of price I don’t really think it can be beat.
I have one right now and I like it. It has some trouble with Wifi, but if you are using ethernet it should probably be fine.
Be careful relying upon WiFi; this has generally been prohibited at competition in the past, and is likely to continue to be prohibited.
We use bluetooth to transfer data between tablets. Works very well.
Don’t end up with a junky Android tablet that will be unbearably slow and see limited manufacturer support and updates.
This Asus model is essentially a re-launch of the Nexus 7 from 2012, and it’s gotten good reviews from AnandTech and others.
You could also look for refurbished or open box Nexus 7’s (2012 edition), they should hit that price point or lower.
Someone told me recently you can get one through Walmart for $69 using the internet shopping and have it shipped to a store.
Not the Nexus 7 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Nextbook-7-Tablet-with-8GB-Memory-with-Google-Mobile-Services/22127002)
The HP Slate could be a nice choice. Also the Nook would work as it has the Google Play Store and is cheap. The HP Slate, however, runs stock Android, which is nicer. I would suggest using Google Drive/Docs to share stuff. Overall, the Nexus 7 (older model is cheaper) would be the best Android tablet, but not in your price point.
Something important to consider is to make sure you can charge them and run off Ethernet at the same time. They will not last a whole day in competition without being charged (we’ve tried). If not, you’re stuck using 3G/4G (which gets very expensive)
Try DealeXtreme at www.dx.com. They have a plethora of cheap tablets. Just expect 2 weeks for delivery from Hong Kong to the US. Newegg posted an ASUS tablet today for $150 on sale.
Our team actually had our main sponsor, Harris Communications, donate prototype military grade tablets for our usage during the competition season. They were relatively simple to program (according to our programmers), and they ran off the andriod operating system. We could also connect them using ethernet cable and download all the information from the scouting tablets to a host tablet and also a coach tablet used by our drive team coach.
Additionally, because they were military grade, they were very durable. They were lightwieght, yet if a student dropped it on the cement floor, it would be fine.
I don’t think these have hit the markets yet, since ours were prototypes and it will take a while even after its being used by the military, however we should definantly keep our eyes out for adriod tablets like those. They were great to use!
Bluetooth isn’t allowed at competitions ether.
I’m not sure where you’re getting this from. Can you cite the rule?
I know they prohibit bluetooth on the robots and operator console, but in the arena I believe they only prohibit wifi networks.
False. All past rules have specified wireless devices following the 802.11 standard to be disallowed, but Bluetooth and zigbee follow the 802.15 specification.
OP: For ideas for implementing your scouting system, you might want to checkout the post and whitepaper Team 1678 has on this thread:
We used 8 Trio Stealth Pro 7’ tablets for our system and they worked kind-of ok. They functioned mostly as we expected, but you get what you pay for with Android tablets under $100. They did not support Bluetooth, which was a disappointment, but they DID support USB ethernet, which we used at the Sacramento regional. I would not recommend using USB ethernet though: it seemed somewhat unreliable and a real mess with cords. At this point in time, I would recommend increasing budget a bit to $150 per tablet, and purchasing ASUS MeMOPad HD 7s
They are pretty much just marked down previous-gen Nexus 7s, and from what I can tell the gain in quality from cheap less than $100 to $150 makes a world of difference.
At least that was my / our teams experience, maybe it will be different for you.
I might as well plug our Android app. It is available on Google Play here. Check it out and see if it is a useful tool for you. We welcome any feedback!
We will be instituting a new app for next year’s game. We will be releasing a video/series that describes the features of next year’s app.
We stored all the data on the tablets then synced them off site. At St Louis we synced them using the bus’ wifi. The other option that we are looking at this year is using an ad hoc wifi network on a laptop that will gather the data. We can just run them out to the parking lot turn on the wifi ad-hoc network and sync the data up. Not ideal, but it worked really well last year.