Usable Tablets for Scouting

using an android interface, with budget in mind, as we are a team from small town USA, are kindle fire Tablets even an option at this point? flash a rom on them and call it good? six of them are $250-$300 (supposedly there’s a promo for 6 of them but I couldn’t find anything) and everyone seems to think they’re good here, but I thought I’d poll the experts

We were thinking of using those $50 kindle tablets for our scouting. Many teams have used them, but you would need to root them and put CyanogenMod on them so that you can download Google Play apps (easier anyway).

We decided we weren’t ready to use other people’s apps for scouting (mostly because we couldn’t find one that matched the data points we wanted to track).

You don’t have to root them. See: http://www.howtogeek.com/232726/how-to-install-the-google-play-store-on-your-amazon-fire-tablet/

Then you can side load your own apk installation files pretty easily. If you remember to look for them around black Friday next year you can get them for $24-29 each. I purchased two this year and another mentor purchased another, all for $29 or less.

my team is looking into using ipads for scouting. at our school, we have ipads for academic use, and we also use office365 to organize the data. there’s microsoft published apps that we access from mobile.
i’d second those cyanogen tablets though.

Does it have to be a tablet proper? http://www.walmart.com/ip/LG-Optimus-Zone-3-Prepaid-Smartphone/49018257

$12.17 each (be bold and get a couple spares–you can get 8 and still be under a C-note before tax), though you probably can only buy two at a time.

I would recommend the $50 Android Tablets, but get them when they go on sale. Our team was able to get five, and get the sixth free as a promotion from Amazon when they first launched.

My only complaint is the Fire Launcher, but there are tools to get rid of the fire launcher, and replace it with Nova Launcher (it looks like an android home-screen).

We use the $50 Kindle Fires flashed with Cyanogen, and they work pretty great. I might grab one for my own use this Black Friday. They are great tablets for the price, if you get the Amazon stuff off them.

We use nexus 7 tablets they work pretty well.

So I did this. At $12.17 I figured, even if we don’t use them for scouting, I get a charger, a remote camera in my house on WiFi, or a camera I can strap onto a robot instead of a GoPro.

It was quite the ordeal to get three of them:

Web link said $12.16 (I’ll save $0.03 more!) – order 3, must pick up in store (10 mi away)
Get confirmation with a ‘wait until store says they are ready’ message.
Get order cancelled message, due to payment issue.

Repeat above three steps with different credit card.

Ok, I’ll just go to the store, since they have them in stock.

Call credit card companies before I leave to be sure my card will work in store.

CC1: Charge made, then reversed, did not deny.
CC2: Pending charge, still pending, did not deny.

Go to store, can’t find phone on display.
Clerk tries to find it, finally does, only three left in storage cabinet under shelf.

Rings it up, $39.99 each. $12.16 is a walmart.com price, not store price.
Manager gets involved. “Can’t price match walmart.com, only other vendors”
But I did order online, for store pickup here!
Manager calls walmart.com, gives them my original order #.
Yes, they say, it was cancelled. Can’t tell us why.
Finally store manager agrees to price match walmart.com anyway.
System would only let me buy two, so got three under two transactions.

Spent better part of an hour in the store for only this purchase.
(There were more screwups by original cashier that I didn’t mention)

I suspect I could have purchased two on line, but not three, maybe. But they never revealed that info to me when ordering or cancelling the order. Or maybe the guy assigned to fetch the stock couldn’t find it or didn’t try and returned ‘out of stock’ to the order… who knows.

Beware.

Consider any of the other Walmart prepaid phones on this page. Order online and just ship it to your house and avoid headaches :slight_smile: I’d recommend the Moto E for best value & build quality http://www.walmart.com/c/kp/prepaid-smartphones

at this point, I figure you might as well root them for other purposes. Thanks for the opinion though

For those of you who are using android tablets and such, are you using wifi? If so, I believe that’s against the rules. FIRST officials have been known to use a spectrum analyzer at events and go find people running wifi.

Here on Team 696, we invested in hardware to do it legally without wifi. We are running 10.1" Windows Tablets with USB-ethernet adapters to a wired LAN in the stands, and we disable all wifi. The tablets were about $120 ea and are decent, but battery life is an issue.

Team 339 just started Tablet scouting last weekend. (I wasn’t there so all of my reports are from the students.)

We’re using 7 Amazon Fire tabs ($50 each on Amazon right now). We sideloaded the FRCKrawler app and the only thing we used WiFi for was to sync the match schedule the morning before we got to the competition.

Data is synced to a master tablet via Bluetooth every few matches. Overall the students said the experience was positive and after a few database hiccups during the first matches the whole thing worked pretty well.

We’re adjusting some of our metrics for this weekend and hopefully we’ll have everything squared away by Friday.

Our system we’ve used for 3 years works in much the same manner. We upload our data to the Internet via two different cell connections (different providers), and then send the results to our viewer apps on our drive team’s phones.

You can legally use Bluetooth and cellphone connections. (Otherwise they’d have to kick out all of the spectators! :yikes: )