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Old 10-17-2011, 11:52 AM   #1
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Android or Linux?

Hi there!!

We've (that's my team and I) just acquired the iMX50EVK and the e-ink board from Freescale, to develop our own ereader. This is an extremely new product and few people is working on it.

Freescale supplies Linux and Android BSPs and as we have more experience in Android than Linux (though not so much.. ), we are thinking which OS will be the best option.

Since most of the ereaders out there are Linux based devices, does it mean that Android is not suitable for these platforms?

I came here to know your opinion, Android developers and users. Do you recommend Android as ereader OS? What advantages (or disadvantages) respect Linux we may find (specially those related to hardware: e-ink technology, display size...)?

Any help would be highly appreciated.

Regards,

Gabriela
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:59 PM   #2
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The chief advantage to Android is that it allows the end-user to install a variety of reading apps, so they are not locked in to one vendor nor are they confined to a single set of features. It would also take pressure off of your developers by not forcing them to develop their own signature reader. There are even companies that will develop an Adobe-DRM compatible eReading app for you.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:56 PM   #3
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This post will be an over-simplification in order to not create an essay but; Android is linux. The only differences are cosmetic (and I'm not trying to be flippant, cosmetic changes mean a lot to the user experience). What defines an OS to users of today tends to be how they interact with it and what applications are available for it. On both counts android exceeds the basic linux experience, especially since there's very few graphical environments designed to accomodate mobile touch interfaces (but there are some).

If you want your users to be able to install the apps they hear about from their friends then go with android. If you want to supply most apps yourself then go with a stock linux distro. But be vary, nokia's n900 was a terrific phone (which I still use as a corporate, mobile sip client) but it was pretty much dead in the water due to the lack of developer support. Well, commercial developer support at least.

The major difference for you as developers is that android pretty much forces you into using java or some kind of abstraction layer (monodroid is an example). With regular linux you can write your applications in any language your developers prefer.

Android also has a buzz value which linux lacks.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:03 PM   #4
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@TFeldt, +1 Well said.


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Old 10-17-2011, 08:05 PM   #5
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Call me a cynic, but I can't help but think that any individual or group that has the wherewithal to develop their own ereader would certainly not have to ask the OP question.

As luqmaninbmore and TFeldt pointed out, the answer to that depends largely on the target audience.
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:30 AM   #6
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First of all, thank you all for your unvaluable help.

I work for a little company wich main target is helping and improving the life of disabled and elderly people. (www.jobaccommodation.es our intention is to update the web in english, sorry about that... ).

A couple of associations proposed us to develop an accesible ereader for people with low mobility (as cerebral paralysis, ..) or low vision. Then we decided to design our own ereader with a usable graphic interface and a remote controller (a simplified bluetooth keyboard, for example) to control it. That's the main idea.

We have experience in C, C++ and Java languages and we have tested the Android SDK. We are Linux users but none of us have experience in building the OS itself.

I hope you could better now understand our situation. Thank you again for your help!
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JobAccommodation View Post
A couple of associations proposed us to develop an accesible ereader for people with low mobility (as cerebral paralysis, ..) or low vision.
With those criteria I'd definitely recommend android. It has built-in voiceover and speech recognition services that stock linux is severely lacking in. Or at least it's lacking in it as far as I know, have little experience in that field so I might very well be wrong.

But I'm not really qualified to give advice (nor do I feel comfortable doing so) on hardware / software for people with disabilities so I'll refrain from making generic statements from now on. If you post specific questions I'll gladly help answer those though. Your goal for this project is very honorable and I wish you the best of luck with it.
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:52 AM   #8
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Thanks for the description Gabriela, sounds like a worthy endevor.

With the plethora of Android tablets on or soon to come on the market, I'd think an app would be the simplest way to go. Android already has the Bluetooth interface for the controller.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:12 PM   #9
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Tfeldt, thanks so much for offering your help and for wishing us your best luck We are very excited about this project. Reading is something fundamental and should be a right of any person but it's true that there are people who can not access to it due to a lack of mobility, for reasons like being unable to turn the pages of a book, or for other reasons, such as the font size of many books. We try to bring technology to all people and use it to make their life easier. We started by doing the job accommodation of people with disabilities and now we are putting our efforts in their leisure time.

Wodin, thank you for your words I also think an Android application would be the best option, and as Tfeldt mentioned before, there are many accesibility features that i think we could integrate in our app.

I'll keep you update

Gabriela
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JobAccommodation View Post
First of all, thank you all for your unvaluable help.

I work for a little company wich main target is helping and improving the life of disabled and elderly people. (www.jobaccommodation.es our intention is to update the web in english, sorry about that... ).

A couple of associations proposed us to develop an accesible ereader for people with low mobility (as cerebral paralysis, ..) or low vision. Then we decided to design our own ereader with a usable graphic interface and a remote controller (a simplified bluetooth keyboard, for example) to control it. That's the main idea.

We have experience in C, C++ and Java languages and we have tested the Android SDK. We are Linux users but none of us have experience in building the OS itself.

I hope you could better now understand our situation. Thank you again for your help!
Hi:

I've worked with disabled people many many years ago, adapting switches in order to be pushed with different parts of the body and writing rather simple apps. By far, the best achievement during my whole life was the day when a 33 years old woman could write her name for the first time.

I wish you the best in your job and, perhaps, some moderator could think on a dedicated sub-forum or a sticky thread for this.

Just a comment, there are eink based ereaders with freely available sdk, like kindle (java based) and (i think) jinke (one of the models has a 9.7" screen size).

Finally there is a project, called open inkpot, that is aimed to port Linux to many eink based ereaders http://openinkpot.org/

Regards
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