Using Amazon Fire tablets for FLL (with some scouting lessons too...)

Best Buy is running some insane prices on Amazon Fire tablets this weekend, and they can run a stripped-down version of the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 software for programming that’s good enough for a lot of FIRST LEGO League applications. (I am not saying all applications, but you can do a lot.)

In the spirit of Allen Gregory and Spectrum’s many wonderful papers, I condensed some of the lessons I have learned running close to 50 Fire tablets in Bricks 4 Kidz programs into a document that FLL teams might glean some information from:

Some of the fleet management techniques may be useful if you choose to use tablets for scouting, particularly when it comes to charging and protection.

Commenting is turned on, so feel free to add suggestions and insight. :slight_smile:

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That’s we currently use for our scouting we have a set of 12 or so tablets that we use for Scouting. We also use some of them to loan to our FLL teams and use them for a camp that we hold for the kids. It was a really good investment for us and allowed us to better our scouting.

Pandamaniacs scout on paper and then immediately input into a spreadsheet so we can crunch the numbers for later qualification matches. The paper choice is for a few reasons, but if we had the right conditions to go electronic I’d set the fleet up just like in the paper. At $25 a tablet, even DIY electronic setups (like the clever Raspberry Pi setup I remember 2815 tag-teaming with another team on in 2013) don’t make a lot of sense from a price standpoint.

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Apparently the 30 dollar 16gb model Fires are sold out right now. The 50 dollar 32gb model is still in stock though. Hopefully the 16gbs get back in stock though, at that price point it’s a no-brainer for use as scouting devices.

I’m actually a little leery of the 9th-gen Fire 7s. They do have some nice things going for them, but they also have an issue with one of my mission-critical apps not showing in FreeTime. Which is probably a mind-bogglingly niche issue, but an issue nonetheless. The two I have are disaster spares, while my 5th- and 7th-generation Fire 7s soldier on.

I actually shelled out to get two replacement glass panels for my 5th-gen ones, though I haven’t had the gumption yet to break out a heat gun and repair them. But considering I caught the last of them being blown out as $25 Warehouse Deals, I certainly got my money’s worth.

Also, if you read the white paper you know to look for certified refurbished and Warehouse Deals. $40 and $44 are not $30, but they are better than a poke in the eye. :slight_smile:

Bonus game: the Bear Motion silicone cases for the 9th generation Fire 7 will fit just fine on 7th-generation tablets, though it’ll block the speaker. If you don’t care about that, you’ll save some cash compared to old-stock 7th-generation cases.

This deal is just about as good as Amazon Prime Day last year when I got 19 of these things for ~$608. After sales tax on the Best Buy deal it works out to be more or less the same price. I’ll definitely be checking out your white paper, thanks for putting it together!

Man, Sold Out :frowning: . This is what I get for not checking CD for a day :joy: