Android Digital Signage – Simple & Low Cost

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Digital Signage has exploded over the last few years and is now utilized in businesses ranging from fast food restaurants for menu boards to factories for showing real time productivity analytics. The uses for digital signage is unlimited and the cost has come down to a price point that even small businesses can afford.

Gateworks has created a simple software signage solution for use on the Ventana Family of Single Board Computers. Connect the SBC to an HDMI or LCD display and point to the desired URL.

Gateworks Digital Signage Features:

  • Based on Android Lollipop, Optimized for 256MB Flash
  • Displays any local or remote URL in a full screen browser (Kiosk Mode)
  • Supports Hardware Acceleration for smooth playback of web content
  • Supports a failover URL
  • Supports automatic refresh

For more information, visit the Digital Signage Wiki Page.

Android Lollipop Embedded Software Release

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Gateworks has just released Android Lollipop support for the Ventana family of Single Board Computers!

Notable updates include:

  • Update to the Android Open Source Project’s 5.1.1 code base
  • Freescale i.MX6 performance and stability improvements
  • New 3.14 based Linux kernel with many improvements
  • Vivante graphics libraries v5.0.11 p7
Gateworks recommends Lollipop for all future Android support.

To get started with Android Lollipop, Click the Link Below:

 

Customizing Android & Yocto Splash Screens

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Customizing Android & Yocto Splash Screens

Have you ever wanted to replace that ugly default logo or animation that is shown when your system boots up? Now you can with custom splash screens!

What is a Splash Screen?

  • The logo or image displayed on screen during the boot process of an embedded system

3 Splash Screens can be Customized:

  • Bootloader
  • Linux Kernel
  • Operating System

Why are Splash Screens Important?

  • Splash screen are displayed immediately conveying proper operation and responsiveness to the user
  • Replacing the splash screen logo with a company logo will effectively brand a product for customer deployment

Read more on the Gateworks Software Wiki:
Customizing the Splash Screen

LCD Touchscreens for Gateworks SBCs

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Gateworks offers a LVDS connector on the Ventana Family of Single Board Computers to allow the connection of a LCD touchscreen display. LCD Displays are a great fit for control panel applications as well as Digital Signage. The displays work with Android, OpenEmbedded Yocto, Ubuntu and more.

The LVDS connector has all the necessary pins for the display signaling as well as I2C for touchscreen control.

Gateworks offers a 7-inch LCD Display with a PCAP Touchscreen. This display is great to get started in development as well as for production projects.

All of the cables, adapters and LCD can be found right on the Gateworks Online Shop so getting up and running is very seamless.

Please review the following links for more information:

Embedded Android App & OS Development

Android is growing fast in embedded applications. The Gateworks Android Development kit is a great starting point for customers that need to get going quickly with both the hardware and software.

To aid in Android software development, Gateworks has developed an example Android application showcasing the interaction of the software with the Gateworks Android hardware. The application features support for the user GPIO, LEDs and more. An easy to use Android library is also provided which can be utilized for any custom application development.

Gateworks has documented Android Software on the following wiki pages:

  • OS Development – This wiki page covers items dealing with the lower level operating system. This includes items on the serial console command line such as init scripts, ADB, partitions, command line networking, LED control, GPIO control and other hardware integration.
  • App Development – This wiki page details the building of an Android App (APK file) independent of building the entire Android OS. Topics covered include setting up the Android Studio IDE, writing sample code for a Hello World App, as well as using an external Gateworks code library for accessing low level items through the app such as GPIOs, LEDs and more.
    • Gateworks Android Library – This is a library that allows easy integration to low level system items such as LEDs, GPIO, PWM and voltage and temperature.

Gateworks Android Demo App

Gateworks has used the information above to create a Gateworks Demo App that is publicly available on GitHub here. The app features a user friendly front end for controlling some hardware features on the board utilizing the GateworksUtil library. Screenshots of the app can be seen below:

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Figure 1. (Above) LED control of the trigger and the on / off state. GPIO as input or output and state.

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Figure 2. (Above) Hardware system statistics

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Figure 3. (Above) PWM enable, period and duty cycle.

References:

Android Touchscreen Development Kit

androidbezelAndroid is becoming a very useful platform for demanding embedded systems. When coupled with a LCD touchscreen, Android loaded on a rugged industrial single board computer can become the interface everyone desires. Gateworks has created a turn-key Android development system to bring a product to market quickly!

The system includes the following:

  • GW5224 Single Board Computer
    • Freescale i.MX6 Quad Core Processor
    • 1GB DRAM
    • 2GB NAND Flash
    • GPS
  • WiFi and Bluetooth Radio
  • 7″ LCD PCAP Touchscreen Display with black anodized bezel
  • 8GB MicroSD Pre-Loaded with Android OS
  • Power Supply
  • Serial Console Adapter & more!

For more information, please visit: Android Development Kit

Android KitKat Software Release for Ventana SBCs

androidkitkat

Gateworks is proud to announce the release of Android KitKat for it’s family of Ventana SBCs.  The source and pre-built images for Android 4.4.3 (KitKat) have been released.

To find out what is new in KitKat 4.4 compared to the prior Android JellyBean release, please see the Android documentation: http://www.android.com/versions/kit-kat-4-4/

Notable changes include:

  • Update to the Android Open Source Project’s 4.4.3 code base
  • Added NAND flash support (for Ventana boards that have 2GB NAND)
  • Added support for new products such as the GW551x and GW552x
  • Freescale has added many IMX6 performance and stability improvements.
  • Newer 3.10.53 based Linux kernel which has many improvements.

Freescale has verified that their Kitkat 4.4.3 BSP (which Gateworks BSP is sourced from), passes Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS 4.4_r3).

We recommend everyone switch to this new branch for all future Android support.

To get started, follow the building instructions on Gateworks Software Wiki site here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Android/Building#BuildingAndroidforVentanafromsource

Android App Development on Gateworks SBCs

Gateworks supports Android on the Ventana family of Single Board Computers. Once loading Android onto the SBC, the next logical step is to create an app. Some of these apps may want to communicate with a GPIO and other hardware.  Gateworks has documented some examples and tutorials on creating a simple Android app and correctly integrating it into the system.

Please find all the information on the Gateworks Software Wiki link: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Android/app_development