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What to Look Out for When Selecting Android Tablets for your Kiosk Project
Released – January 2016

Tablets are cheap, effective and seems to be able to get the job done for kiosk projects. That was what many thought and started buying consumer tablets for their kiosk projects. Well, things started to go very different of what one thought would be a very easy deployment. Here are some elements that might need to consider when deploying your next tablet projects.

1.Device Operating System Android is a system that is designed especially for the fast pace consumer market where OS is updated every year with new features. In the kiosk industry, these features are not so important and the focus is more on stability. Making sure which version of OS that your application supports and sticking to it will help eliminate many unnecessary rework of your applications 2. Hardware Electronics There are many low cost tablets out there in the market that looks and works exactly like a premium tablet, so what is the difference ? There are so much more to discuss in this topic, here are a few highlights. For starters, low cost tablets tends to use storage chips such as NAND flash and these flash has a limited read and write cycles. This means the system stored inside will get corrupted at a period of time and the tablet will failed to start cause it can't find the right image to start. eMMC on the other hand has a dedicated controller inside in which regulates the data stored and thus creates stability for the whole system. However eMMC has a higher cost than NAND and most of the tablets in the market are for average consumer it's no problem for them since either they'll buy a new tablet by that time or just reinstall everything from the cloud. Components durability are also a big difference since consumer tablets tends to use capacitors that operates at a lower temperature rate. This does not affect them since the tablet is only used for a short period of time unlike kiosk that most of the time are operated at 24/7. 3. Multiple I/O Barcode, printers, card swipe and now rfid, nfc are some of the common essential module to add. This requires a lot of I/O such as USB and RS-232 from other requirements. Consumer tablets does not have this since the design needs to be portable and average consumer will not need such amount of I/O. Cost is another issue since it needs more electronics components in order to generate the power for these modules. Also additional module drivers will need to be included into the firmware in order to work with the application. Consumer brand usually will not do that and this is a huge factor for many kiosk projects. 4. Firmware and Hardware Compatibility Although all tablets runs android OS, but they all work differently. This is because some are modified by the company (ex: HTC, Samsung) and some uses different processor in which uses a different set of IP of decode videos and etc. The same application might work well in this brand, but would cause a few bugs in the other brand. It is best to stick with a particular hardware so that the application would be stable during deployment. Some firmware developers would also delete google plugins inside the android OS, this helps optimise system speed and also blocks out unnecessary apps. 5. Customised, Customised and Customised All kiosk requires customisation, this means different sets of modules, screen sizes, touch interface, housings, colours, etc. Most tablets in the market can only go up to 10" or maybe 22" for a few. But the requirements also extends to touch interface (IR or Capacitive), modules and many more. If one of these adjustments are your next project's requirement, then tablets from the consumer market are not suitable for you.

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