• Sat 2020.03.14

    Well, one would think that locating a suitable tablet that supports BLE would be an easy thing this day and age. It appears this latest generation of sales reps, don't have the total comprehension of what specifications are or why they are needed. (Thank you Not! Blue Pill educators - ref lack of teaching critical thinking skills) Web page specification detail for BLE compatible devices is lacking also.

    Attempting to take an Espruino device into a store has been a bit problematic as not all tablet models are avialble on display, and I get strange rep looks when they are confronted with 'actually' having to perform the pairing task.

    As the T-Shirt says: "Is there any intelligent life down here?!!"



    Now while it can be confirmed that the minimum tablet Android OS may be determined:

    'Android 4.3 (API level 18) introduces built-in platform support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)'
    http://www.bluetooth.com/Pages/Bluetooth­-Smart-Devices-List.aspx

    Finding a specification for compatible hardware that will support BLE listed on a web page is a daunting task.

    Here is where things are a bit murky.

    I have a (circa 2016) HP Notebook that claims to be compatible with Bluetooth devices, but will not connect with BLE devices. Frustrating when I attempted to connect my first Espruino Puck. Had to pick up an external BLE >4V01 dongle as this reference reports.

    Beneath heading: "I can't see my device in the IDE in Windows"

    'On Windows 10, . . . . If you can't pair then your PC may not support Bluetooth LE (even if it supports normal Bluetooth) and you may need an exernal Bluetooth dongle.'
    https://www.espruino.com/Troubleshooting­+BLE



    Now, I want to do the same on an Android device, with hopefully first time purchase results. So, am attmepting to locate a suitable 10" tablet for around $150 USD that may be used to flash Espruino.


    some links with a bit of info:
    https://android.stackexchange.com/questi­ons/26105/determining-support-for-blueto­oth-low-energy

    note that the internal link 'partial list of devices that support BLE' is broken 403
    https://www.blooky.com/blooky-blog/compu­ter-tablet-phone-bluetooth-4-0-low-energ­y-ble/

    learn differences BTLE/BLE vs BT
    https://learn.adafruit.com/alltheiot-tra­nsports/bluetooth-btle

  • Sat 2020.03.14

    one minute later . . .

    I owe @allObjects an apology. In a previous post, I chastised him for what appeared to be a forum edit blunder with a double entry.

    posts #8 #9 #10    http://forum.espruino.com/comments/15122­371/



    Well guess what? Yup, egg on my face, as it just happened to me!!

    While making my initial post, I pressed the 'Save changes' button to submit the text, and on review when page update occurred, there were two identical posts!!

    My sincere apologies Markus, as I bow to the forum Gods and eat crow . . . .

    Identical content as in post #1 deleted as redundant . . .

  • Sat 2020.03.14

    Made a bit of progress.

    "This technology comes integrated with the Bluetooth 4.0 version."

    "NOTE: The Samsung devices which are compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy technology are Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9500) , Samsung Galaxy S III (GT-I9300) and Samsung Galaxy Note II (GT-N7100)."

    https://www.samsung.com/in/support/mobil­e-devices/what-is-bluetooth-low-energy-b­le-technology/



    Samsung Galaxy S4 - $749 USD - A bit pricey for what I need

    Bluetooth Version 5.0
    OS - Android 8.0 Oreo

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-gal­axy-tab-s4-10-5-64gb-wi-fi-4g-lte-verizo­n-black/6284714.p?skuId=6284714

  • Sun 2020.03.15

    I have a Bluetooth aware tablet, (circa late 2016) an Amazon Fire HD. Although it is possible to side load the Android .apk files, the device itself is not BLE compliant. Big blow when I purchased my first Puck (circa 2017) and couldn't flash it.

    So, even though the screen real estate on a Smart Phones is much too small in my opinion for easy reading, it might be okay (at the right price) for flashing firmware.

    But I have a major concern with Smart Phones.



    The Smart Phone route. (I don't own, nor do I anticipate owning one, monthly cost wise - cost vs benefit) Correct me should my understanding not be correct, a SIM card and an activation card, monthly or by annual plan is required, but that is used to connect via GSM to say a 4G or 5G network for audio voice calls. WiFi would allow connection to a hotspot or home Internet router, and Bluetooth/BLE enables connectivity of say a BLE mic/headset and our treasured Espruino family of official supported boards.

    Under that premise, if a method to side load the .apk and .zip files is found, say via USB cable, then flashing Espruino could be done on a smart phone that doesn't have GSM or the SIM card activated. So, could a used phone work then?

  • Sorry to hear about the Fire HD. Did you actually try installing nRF connect on it? I'd be amazed if it didn't work.

    a SIM card and an activation card, monthly or by annual plan is required

    Not at all - you can just connect a phone via WiFi and it'll be fine. You just won't be able to make calls unless you use Skype/etc.

  • Mon 2020.03.16

    @Gordon, yes, did sideload nRFConnect a year ago, but that app never saw any BLE devices to pair to.

    Now I understand why. It appears I may have aquired the last of an end of life batch as it was majorly discounted. I think I paid around ~$120 when retail was just under ~$275 circa 2016. The HDX just came out at around ~$400, but I couldn't justify the nearly three times price increase for 'just reading.' Remembering back, I would discover Espruino a year later.

    I may also have a hybrid, as mine has 8Gig Ram and there is a note there that indicates Fire 7 was upgraded from 1Gig in 2015

    And somethong else I didn't realize, "It is possible to convert a Kindle Fire to a tablet running standard Android, with some loss of Amazon-related functionality, and lacking features such as Bluetooth, microphone, camera, and memory expansion"

    But my fear to do that is too risky, for the reasons of hardware manufactuing timeframe. Unable to locate what version of Bluetooth is within the device.



    We know:

    From minimum Android version, link in post #1, we need Android 4.3 (API level 18)

    "The second-generation Kindle Fire HD runs a customized Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich OS"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Fir­e_tablet

    There was an upgrade to a version 3 circa 2013 original release date, but no indication of Android version

    Thanks for the idea, I'll reconfirm and try again, but the conversion from Amazon labeling of incremental customized software revisions and being able to cross link to an actual Android version is time consuming.

  • @Robin, a decent - actually great - alternative for a tablet is a chrome book: You get a real keyboard and for a good price. Some chrome books are also working as tablets w/ touch screen and back-foldable key board.

  • Tue 2020.03.17

    Nice insight @allObjects, thanks.

    On initial canvasing, specifications indicate 'support for Bluetooth 4' and run ChromeOS.

    Samsung Chromebook 4 11" $179
    HP 14" AMD-A4 $249

    Experience has shown me that we need a device manufactured after Sept 2018, which implies at least Android 8 Oreo, and hardware support for BLE which today means BT 5. My HP Notebook which was supposed to support all BT devices including BLE still required a Bluetooth 4V1 external dongle. (that my be a Windows10 limitation though)

    Are we able to confirm that a Chromebook running ChromeOS, suporting Bluetooth 4V0 has in fact flashed an Espruino device?

  • Not sure, if the date and Bluetooth version is meant for ChromeBooks or Androids as you mention Android 8. But for example, I have a Huawei P10, can flash firmware with nRF Connect, and according to GSMArena
    Released: 2017, March
    Bluetooth: 4.2, A2DP, LE, aptX

    I got it late 2017, don't remember the exact month.

  • My old Moto G3 phone (July 2015) still works flawlessly, so I think as long as you get something that's not some hobbled version Android you should be fine now.

  • Wed 2020.03.18

    answering post #9 response

    'Not sure, if the date and Bluetooth version is meant for . . . '

    I hadn't realized how detailed this would get, trying to sort things out, but I'm starting to
    realize that it is necessary to put the 'BS' filter on after reading comments from other forums. Everyone seems to want to be the source of what they think/know is correct, then fail to document correctly or correct their (discovered in the future) error.

    I'll agree @AkosLukacs that keeping this all straight can be taxing on the ol' noggin.

    To verify, I went back to the nice post #1 table cross reference that Bluetooth.com published, but that link now 403 error's out. Rats!! Really nice as it had a date chronological listing for both BT and Android versions and release dates. Now searching for a substitute.

    Found this from a user Aug 2016 'it mentions that it supports both BTv4.1 and BLE. It therefore distinguishes the two BT specifications'

    https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3476­1921/is-bluetooth-4-0-ble

    As I see it, the confusion ( 4 ) results as we have Bluetooth 4.0 arriving around the same time Android 4.3 started supporting BLE

    Since your Huawei P10 falls into a zone just after that timeframe, lets see if we are able to build some chronolgical relationships here:

    Bluetooth low energy support introduced

    Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (API 18)
    4.3 July 24, 2013

    Android 7.0 Nougat (API 24)
    7.0 August 22, 2016

    Android 8.0 Oreo (API 26)
    8.0 August 21, 2017

    Android 9 Pie (API 28)
    9 August 6, 2018

    Android 10 Quince Tart (API 29)
    10 September 3, 2019

    Full chronological table at:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_ve­rsion_history



    The web buzz as I preceive it is that the Android releases introduced the support for BLE around mid 2013. It took time for hardware vendors to envision, prototype, build, introduce to the market their super-duper hardware flavor.
    (as the post #1 link 403's going from memory here - until future verification)
    Bluetooth release version was around 4.0 and introduction of BLE was on the horizon. Confusion sets in until around a March of 2017 timeframe when world-wide adoption finally agrees and products start hitting the market around September 2017. Android version is around 8 and Bluetooth minimum for BLE is 4.2

    Your Huawei P10 purchased fall 2017 and having BT 4.2 and Android 7 falls into this category.

    From the post #9 link
    OS Android 7.0 (Nougat), upgradable to Android 9.0 (Pie)

    Therefore it is a safe bet that the hardware produced after Sept 2017 will support BLE, despite only referencing 'Bluetooth support' or just BT. But that may only be for Android (Smart Phones) devices as I'm starting to realize that, the same may not hold true for PC's/Laptops as my HP fits into that time slot, but even stated as Bluetooth 4 compliant, doesn't recognize BLE devices. (could it be lack of suitable drivers, Windows10, rather than hardware?)

  • Tue 2020.03.24

    While Bluetooth.com continues minor site access limitations, I finally found a link to a page of deprecated specifications. (as the post #1 link 403's)

    https://www.bluetooth.com/specifications­/errata/

    BT 4.0
    Publication date: 30 June 2010

    version: 4.2
    Publication date: Dec 02 2014

    p.17
    Mentioned in BT 4.0
    'There are two forms of Bluetooth wireless technology systems: Basic Rate (BR) and Low Energy (LE)'

    p.85 4V2
    'To claim support to the “Low Energy” Core Configuration, an implementation must support a set of Required Features, according to the details in Table 4.6 and Table 4.7'



    Using Gordon's statement post #10 that his July 2015 Moto 3 worked, it is interesting to note

    https://www.gsmarena.com/motorola_moto_g­_(3rd_gen)-7247.php
      using AkosLukacs link from post #9


    that BT and BLE are mentioned separately, so the Moto Gen3 purchased July 2015 had Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP, LE and OS Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop), upgradable to 6.0 (Marshmallow)

    It appears that around four years elapse from the announcement of the BT spec, and around two years for the Android spec announcement that allows for the hardware to finally get into the hands of the consumer. Devices pre 2017 seem to specify both BT and BLE as a separate listing and Motorola was an early adopter here. Devices such as the Huawei P10 purchased fall 2017 and list the minimum core spec BT 4.2 and Android 7, to be able to make the 'Low Energy' claim.    see p.85 above 4V2

  • Sun 2020.04.05

    Armed with the BLE minimum specification detail, I have narrowed down the search (available locally in N.A.) to the following few devices that might be acceptable with features in my desired price range. I also selected 'Unlocked' and 'Activate Later' which will impart a slightly higher purchase cost as there isn't an associcated phone voice plan.

    All prices in USD.

    $129.00    Samsung - Galaxy Tab A 7" 8GB - Black

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-gal­axy-tab-a-7-8gb-black/4943611.p?skuId=49­43611

    Year of Release2012
    Storage8 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 5.1 Lollipop
    Processor ModelT -Shark 2A
    RAM1.5 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes
    Bluetooth Version(Not Listed)
    Screen Res1080
    Battery11 hours
    H:7.35 inches
    W:4.58 inches



    $199.99    Samsung - Galaxy Tab A (2019) - 10.1" - 32GB - Black

    Best value for memory

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-gal­axy-tab-a-2019-10-1-32gb-black/6335112.p­?skuId=6335112

    Year of Release2019
    Storage32 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 9.0 Pie
    Processor ModelExynos 7904A
    RAM2 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes
    Bluetooth Version4.2
    Screen Res1920 x 1200
    Battery Capacity6150 milliampere hours
    H:9.65 inches
    W:5.88 inches



    $199.99    Lenovo - Smart Tab M10 - 10.1" - Tablet - 16GB - Slate Black

    Best value for screen size

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-smar­t-tab-m10-10-1-tablet-16gb-slate-black/6­321930.p?skuId=6321930

    Year of Release2019
    Storage16 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
    Processor ModelQualcomm Snapdragon 450
    RAM2 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes
    Bluetooth Version4.2
    Screen Res1920 x 1200
    Battery Capacity4850 milliampere hours
    H:9.53 inches
    W:6.61 inches



    $149.99    Samsung - Galaxy Tab A (Latest Model) - 8" - 32GB - Black

    Best Compromize

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-gal­axy-tab-a-latest-model-8-32gb-black/6368­084.p?skuId=6368084

    Year of Release2019
    Storage32 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 9.0 Pie
    Processor ModelExynos 7904
    RAM2 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes
    Bluetooth Version4.2
    Screen Res1280 x 800
    Battery Capacity5100 milliampere hours
    H:8.30 inches
    W:4.90 inches
  • Mon 2020.04.06

    Chromebook update

    There was a mention of researching Chromebook as a tablet choice in #7 post. As there hasn't been mention of an existing user experience, and all the reading so far, I have to place that option on the not at all list. It appears that while Chromebook does support Bluetooth, it is only BT4, with no mention of BLE. The ability to support Android seems to be an issue, with limited mention there either. Until a reader offers up detail to the contrary;

    https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c0­4828968

    https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4197­2045/android-app-which-interacts-with-bl­e-devices-not-working-on-chromebook

    https://www.businessinsider.com/do-chrom­ebooks-have-bluetooth

  • Tue 2020.04.07

    After reviewing the available hardware, there is a technology, NFC Near Field Communication that is of some interest, as retailers are starting to adopt that payment mechanism at checkouts.

    As NFC is currently only available on recent model smart phones, a quick size up of their viewable screen size in comparison to a tablet seems to be that in landscape mode, the tablet viewable screen area appears to be around one and one half inches larger.

    Off to compare Smart Phone options, bang for the buck as they say, the offset of smaller reading area for what appears to be a higher initial cost outlay.

  • Sat 2020.04.11

    After just a few hours of searching, it can be seen there is a myriad selection of smart phones avaiable. If one realizes that in landscape mode, a standard phone only limits viewing to 1.50" (38mm) less vertically, than that of a tablet.

    As my initial need was primarily for reading, the trade off now becomes the extra ability to turn the device into a NFC development station (Java Eclipse) and later activated as a phone if necessary. I kept my choices to those that had BLE (BT v4.2) NFC and GPS, in a price range comparable with that of at least an 8" tablet. Here are some good bets that were availble and reasonably priced.



    $179.99    Samsung - Galaxy A10e with 32GB - Black

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-gal­axy-a10e-with-32gb-memory-cell-phone-unl­ocked-black/6361086.p?skuId=6361086
    https://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_­a10e-9790.php


    EDIT:
    After double checking with factory, despite advertised as NFC, the proximity sensor turns screen off when near face. Left here as is a good value with BT v5.0
    https://www.samsung.com/uk/support/mobil­e-devices/what-is-nfc-and-how-do-i-use-i­t/

    Year of Release2019 Aug
    Storage32 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 9.0 Pie
    Processor ModelExynos 7884
    RAM2 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes 5.0
    SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity sensor
    Screen Res720 x 1560
    Battery Capacity3000 milliampere hours
    H:5.80 inches
    W:2.74 inches



    $169.99    Nokia - 4.2 with 32GB - Black

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/nokia-4-2-w­ith-32gb-memory-cell-phone-unlocked-blac­k/6350400.p?skuId=6350400
    https://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_4_2-9603.­php

    Year of Release2019 May
    Storage32 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 9.0 Pie
    Processor ModelQualcomm
    RAM3 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes v4.2
    SensorsNFC, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Fingerprint sensor, Proximity sensor
    Screen Res1520 x 720
    Battery Capacity3000 milliampere hours
    H:5.87 inches
    W:2.81 inches



    $249.99    Samsung - Galaxy A20 with 32GB - Black

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-gal­axy-a20-with-32gb-memory-cell-phone-unlo­cked-black/6361088.p?skuId=6361088
    https://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_­a20-9640.php

    Year of Release2019 Apr
    Storage32 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 9.0 Pie
    Processor ModelExynos 7904
    RAM3 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes 5.0
    SensorsNFC, Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
    Screen Res720 x 1560
    Battery Capacity3000 milliampere hours
    H:6.24 inches
    W:2.94 inches



    $249.99    Motorola - Moto One Action 128GB- Black

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/motorola-mo­to-one-action-with-128gb-memory-cell-pho­ne-unlocked-denim-blue/6375633.p?skuId=6­375633
    https://www.gsmarena.com/motorola_one_ac­tion-9739.php

    Year of Release2019 Aug
    Storage128 gigabytes
    OSAndroid 9.0 Pie
    Processor ModelExynos
    RAM4 gigabytes
    Bluetooth EnabledYes
    SensorsNFC, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Magnetometer, Gyro sensor, Fingerprint sensor
    Screen Res1080 x 2520
    Battery Capacity3500 milliampere hours
    H:6.30 inches
    W:2.80 inches
  • Thr 2020.04.16

    My original need was for an Android device that could not only flash Espruino devices, but also allow for easy reading. A 10" tablet was my initial desire. (post #3 and post #13) After a month of research and observation, it seemed that for resale ability, having more features made more sense, if I could only get past the viewing area. A smart phone viewable area would roughly fit into the same area with just an additional two inches/50mm each bottom and right edge. I masked off my 7" table to see if I could get past the reading screen real estate limitation. Not ideal. Initial cost was comparable. The idea hit me, that maybe the addition of NFC would allow web code devlopment for smart phones Point-Of-Sale detection, a back burner task I've considered. That led me on to four really good picks suggested in #16 post.

    Now it boiled down to 'bang-for-the-buck' as searching DealDash, eBay and Amazon, revealed both used and previously owned devices. After four hours of perusal, found two that were around $100-$150 less than new. Then through a miracle of Google response magic, found a six month old Nokia 6V1 with BT V5, NFC, GPS, and compass, for the same price as I was finding the discount! BINGO! Ordered.

    No original packaging, manual or charger, but those are pretty inexpensive. Amazon indicating two week delay from Pandemic, so I'll keep ya' posted on whether it was a good buy.

  • Fri 2020.04.17

    Summary

    When considering a device for flashing Espruino devices, especially the Puck, Pixl and MDBT42Q, Bluetooth BLE is required, along with an Android version supporing BLE, Bluetooth Low Energy.

    Tablets would work (post #3 and post #13) but from strictly a price standpoint, a good used phone manufactured after late 2017 would be a good bet. (Android versions post #12)

    Unable to locate any supporting evidence for the post #7 suggestion of Chromebook, (post #14 regarding Chromebook compatability) although I am considering a separate purchase to have a physical QWERTY keyboard with a large reading area, in lieu of a touch screen keyboard Android tablet.

    There are several low investment unlocked no plan phones that may be had (post #16) for around $100 USD, that with the addition of NRF and GPS, make the device easily resellable, especially as one could even use the phone part! (not needed by me based on plan cost for number of calls made)


    Sidebar for users in N.A.

    CDMA only devices are on the way out. This means Verison and Sprint suggested year end 2020.

    https://nwida.org/verizon-wireless-end-s­upport-cdma-devices

    Support for 3G will most likely end 2022 in favor of the new 5G installations.

    https://www.advancedmobilegroup.com/blog­/your-3g-devices-just-got-an-expiration-­date

    This means when purchasing a smart phone that would retain resellability, you're limited to GSM, an un-locked phone with the user selection of a Sim and Pay-As-You-Go card or a locked in monthly plan to use the 5G networks. It is likely your 4G will continue to work until year 2025

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Tablet 10" or large screen Android Smart Phone with ability to flash nRF52 Espruino firmware via BLE - Your device recommendations needed

Posted by Avatar for Robin @Robin

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