School wants to distribute tabs with preinstalled apps

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Discussions' started by jvinga1, May 24, 2011.

  1. jvinga1

    jvinga1 Member

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    I'm helping a school do research for a project where they'll put a bunch of Android tablets in student hands. They'd like to provide the tablets to the students with certain apps pre-installed and probably certain settings already configured as well (default web pages, etc.). In the PC world, they would image the hard drive then restore that image to every device. In the Android world I assume they'll have to do things like root the device and somehow find, modify, build and flash new ROM images? How will the affect what device they purchase? Will they need one where the vendor provides a base "image" to work from? If someone could point us to some basics on this issue, I'd appreciate it!

    Oh, they also want to use the "image" to restore the devices back to default when students mess them up or load a bunch of junk.
     
  2. Lilluda_5

    Lilluda_5 Member

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    It sounds like you really need to talk to a manufacture somehow. I'd suggest talking to someone in their sales department.
     
  3. ObsidianBlk

    ObsidianBlk Member

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    Here's a suggestion from a technology guru in the education world...
    Unless your school only runs grades k-5 or the students arent actually going to be allowed to take the tablets home with them, don't bother locking the device. There's bound to be at least one kid with the know how to eventually root your device and (s)he's not going to keep that to themselves for long. Eventually, I'd guess at least 10% to 25% of your student body's going to end up with a rooted device regardless of any policy your school puts in place. Keep in mind that, schools aren't technology service providers like verizon or att who can say "oh, you rooted it... nothing we can do. You voided your warrenty". If the tablet is a key to your educational plans, then the school will have to deal with every kid who roots or tries to root their device, whether that men's reflashing the device (if you find a way to do so) or replace it (potencially costly).

    Furthermore, tablets are going to become far more common. Some of your student body may even have their own tablets... so why bother with yours at all if locked down.

    Of course, just my opinion... and administration will decide what they will. I just warn... don't underestimate the power of the students to bypass any security chosen.
     
  4. jvinga1

    jvinga1 Member

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    Actually, they don't plan to lock them down at all. They just want a way to reset them back to factory default when the student hands it back in or messes is up.

    The other big project is they want certain apps pre-installed when the give the devices to the students. They don't want to manually do this one at a time, so they need a way to "image" the devices and just flash that new state to them. That's what I'm trying to research - how can we load up a tablet with a bunch of apps and setting we want, then duplicate that to all other devices before handing them out?
     
  5. ObsidianBlk

    ObsidianBlk Member

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    That's cool... but I'd have to go with what the person before me said and contact manufacurers and see if any of them are willing to work with you. Though, if you're only a single school, that may be hard.

    If none of the apps you want are "custom" apps written by your school, then I may suggest just printing out a list of apps the students are required to get on their own, similar to how college classes require their students to get their class books on their own.

    Good luck friend!
     
  6. jvinga1

    jvinga1 Member

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    I don't know that this will require the manufacturer's help. It seems there are others doing this. For example, I was looking through ebay listings and found a video on a listing that I extracted the youtube URL from: where they guy keeps discussing the particular firmware they load and all the apps they load when you buy from them. You probably don't have to watch the video to get what I'm driving at though. Anyhow, I doubt they do that manually for each device. There's gotta be a way to mass duplicate a setup onto other devices.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2014
  7. ObsidianBlk

    ObsidianBlk Member

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    Watched the video... never heard of digibyte myself so I really can't comment on their wares, but it looks like theyre using a stock froyo build. Froyo is mostly a smartphone android os. Some good tablets use it, but honeycomb is the current tablet standard and google will be releasing icecream sandwich in a few months. My suggestion is, with an initial investment, stick close to more up to date versions of the os so as to hold off obcelecence.

    Regardless, what you want is a ghost image for whatever tablet you invest in... I firmly believe you're not going to get this without some sort of deal with the tablet manufacturers. Hope I'm wrong.
     
  8. jvinga1

    jvinga1 Member

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    The need to purchase the tablets very soon. Unfortunately, the flood of Honeycomb tablets is just beginning this summer and there are few choices in their budget range now. That means we're back at single core processor systems that run Froyo, which will suit their needs just fine. We'll at least try to get them something with a Samsung Chip so that performance will be good.

    Yes, a similar concept to a Ghost image is what we're looking for, but I figured this would be done by somehow creating a custom flash image and flashing it back via the card slot.

    When an app is installed on Android, is is just a matter of getting the right files in the right place on the file system? If so, then they could get a tablet that gives access to the file system when hooked to a PC via USB (my phone allows this) and having a script that copies the app files to the right locations. ???
     

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