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Last update:
Oct 31/16 (65)

    

Windows Tablets

At November, 2015

Cheap Windows tablets have begun to appear in the marketplace.  Microsoft seems so intent on competing with Android, that they've apparently made Windows free to manufacturers for smaller devices (not sure what the limit is, possibly tablets with 9" - 10" screens and smaller).  A couple of advantages that tablets have over desktop systems is their lower cost, and lower power requirements.  As well, their compactness and portability work to their advantage for control and monitoring situations.  

I recently picked up a 7" Windows tablet for $99 CAD.  In the testing I've done so far, I can say it works for 108Relays software.  

About the tablet...  
  - Model: Proscan PLT7064, with 7" Screen
  - Resolution: native is 1024 x 600, but also works at 1280 x 768
  - 1GB RAM, and 16GB Storage (part of which is taken by Windows files)
  - WiFi and BT
  - 1 microUSB port for charging and data
  - microSD slot
  - has cameras and headphone out
  - comes with Win8.1 Home

I didn't do any testing in Win8 --  I took Microsoft up on its offer of a free upgrade to Win10.  Win10 can be toggled between tablet and desktop modes, which makes it much more attractive. The upgrade itself went okay, the problem was finding enough room to store the necessary upgrade files downloaded from the Microsoft site.  Once that got sorted out, all was fine.  

108Relays applications will work okay on Win10, in desktop mode.  Some have recently been modified so they'll work on a small tablet screen.  Using an OTG cable with a USB/Serial adaptor (FTDI in this case), the apps can connect to hardware no problem.

To switch between Tablet and Desktop modes, go: Settings/System/Tablet mode, and turn it off, and set start mode to "Start in Desktop". Note: everything is so small on a 7" screen, it's an absolute necessity to use a stylus.  Even then, it can take a bit of fiddling to tap the right item. 

----

Power issues... 
Most lower-end tablets have only 1 usb port, which is used both for charging and data connection.  Which means a tablet must be operated on battery, when connecting to external hardware.  This severely limits a tablet's usefulness for monitoring and control projects.  

Possible power solutions... 
  - find a tablet with a separate DC power jack (eg:Aoson)
  - find a tablet with 2 or more usb ports (eg: Asus Transformer)
     (assuming one port for charging, and the other for data)
  - do a hardware hack: pull the back off the tablet and connect leads 
      to the battery so that it can be charged by means other than the 
      usb port.  This will void any warranty there may be on the tablet.  

Possible tablets... 
  - Aoson 10", model GB-T-R12
      Has separate DC jack.  Found on Amazon.  
  - Proscan 10" model PLT1067-PK  (londondrugs.com)
      Has separate dc jack, plus keyboard
  - Asus Transformer T100TAF 10"  (Amazon)
      Has 2 usb ports.  
  - RCA W101  10" model  (RCA site, and Walmart.com)
      Has 2 usb ports, plus separate DC jack, plus keyboard
  - Vulcan Excursion XB  10" model  (on Amazon)
      Has separate DC jack, plus keyboard.  
  - Vensmile iPC002 Wintel Mini PC  (on Amazon)
      Not a tablet, but a very compact pc box, no display, no keyboard.
      Has 1 microUSB, plus 2 standard USB ports. Power connection is
      through the microUSB port.  Has wifi and BT.  
  - Pipo X8, 7" model (on Amazon)
      This is a tablet screen in a box.  The box is promoted as connecting 
      to a TV to make it "smart".  It has 4 standard USB ports, plus 1 
      microUSB port, plus separate DC jack. There is no battery.  
      It also has an RJ45 network jack, plus the usual  wifi.   

Disclaimer:  I found these units by searching the 'Net.  I have no direct experience with any of them.  Acquire and test at your own risk.  


Windows 10 Updates (Jan 04/16)
Microsoft has changed how updates work in Win10.  With Win10 Home you have no choice but to receive updates.  In Win10 Pro, you can defer updates for a period of time (some months only, it seems).  

It's not clear (to me) at this writing how far Windows goes in forcing reboots (updates implying a possible reboot). If you want to prevent updates coming into your Win10 tablet, you have a couple of options: (1) you can disconnect/disable your network connection; or (2) you can go into the network settings, and set your connection as "metered" (meaning high-priced - pay by the minute), in which case Windows wont download updates until you change to a faster connection.  

  

  

 

 


  

   

   

    

    

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