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old tablets...

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  • old tablets...


    I'm trying to figure out uses for old tablets (specifically I have an Android 4.4, Android 5.1, and iPad 3rd generation - iOS 5.1)... My question is a bit inspired by the kickstarter iFrameIx, which I came across recently:
    The kickstarter has a nice idea, but it of course will all depend on the software. Meanwhile, I currently see the following uses
    • Remote desktop client: with a bluetooth keyboard/mouse, I can use them to control e.g. my htpc (no need to switch on projector) or work on my desk-computer from a different location at home.
    • SpaceDesk: use a tablet as touchscreen monitor (over wifi, or over usb for Android). This works quite well, so it does allow me to have more screen-real-estate on a laptop
    • Moonlight: client to stream games from my htpc to a tablet. This works surprisingly well (I stream from nVidia, but SunBeam should work if you do not have an nVidia).
    • reader: using a good ereader app, the tablets suffice for this.

    I wanted to use them as control panels for my home-automation, but they are too old to run the app of my Loxone server.
    I now had the idea of using Moonlight to stream other applications: a web-browser or ideally a full emulated android. I tried with Genymotion, but I'm having problems getting Moonlight to stream it (mainly due to the way the emulator is launched). But a web browser would give me already a lot of options.

    Curious if you guys came up with something better... Feels like such a waste to dispose of them...
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

  • #2
    Lol, I still have 3 Blackberry Playbooks... But no, sry.
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    • #3
      My first idea was to run Android on Hyper-V, and then connect to the Hyper-V console using RDP (Hyper-V uses this protocol to connect to the console). However, most RDP clients don't allow the setting needed to connect to a hyper-v console. I've found one that does, but unfortunately only Android x86 runs on Hyper-V, and it is dead slow... Better would be PrimeOS or so, but they just show a black screen on Hyper-V when hardware acceleration is used. I am still looking for other tablet-friendly operating systems that I could run in Hyper-V, but so far there does not seem to be much.

      The next idea was to use Moonlight to stream apps. I've tried it for games, which surprisingly works... So performance is there! So if nothing else it could be a simple app-streaming client. I will have to check if I can use it to stream the netflix app (not sure how game-streaming copes with HDCP). There is a possibility to stream the entire desktop, which works with much better performance than RDP, but it scales from the computer's set resolution, so it does not look so nice.

      The webbrowser idea I have now gives some options though, so now I'm working on getting that to work: it would give me access to my home automation controls, but also just as a real webbrowser - if I can get a keyboard-addon to work. Apparently it is also possible to run android apps on chrome (archon), so let's try... One downside of Moonlight for streaming is that it also runs on the main screen of the computer. But if I use my htpc for that, it is less of an issue as its screen is usually off anyway.
      It is nothing important, but it some small project that I can easily work on if I have half an hour to spare.
      Last edited by VJ; 26 June 2023, 10:16.
      Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)


      • #4
        I use an old 7" Lenovo tablet as a remote control for anything controllable via WiFi:
        • Yamaha MusicCast
        • Xiaomi Yeelight
        • Anova precision oven
        • Nvidia shield TV
        "For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism."


        • #5
          That was also my idea... but the one tablet (Galaxy Tab 2) is too old - Android 4.1, the other (Asus Zenpad something) runs an Intel processor, so while it has Android 5, not that many current apps are compatible.

          I was hoping to run a virtual Android on PC, and then use Teamviewer or some other remote connection software to connect to itn from the old tablet. But I have not found a combo that would work, either due to the age of the tablet or the intel processor. RDP is possible, I even thought of streaming Windows or Linux. Directly connecting to the hyper-v console would solve it, but I have been unsuccessful so far. For now, I feel my best bet it Moonlight to stream apps (rather than a whole environment). It works quite well - performance wise - as it is intended for gaming and uses gpu acceleration. Only issue with Moonlight is input: it assumes you have input devices connected... :-)
          Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)


          • #6
            Just to revive this:
            A moonlight client seems to be the best option to get high performance of the app displayed. The downside is that it adjusts to the resolution of the computer and scales (can be somewhat circumvented), and there are no touchscreen controls such as a keyboard. But if you intend to use another input device, it works well. Just set all the apps you need for streaming on the computer and on the tablet you can select your app from a list. Interesting is adding the entire desktop (instructions on Moonlight website): it streams the entire desktop like rdp, but the apps are not aware of it. So some apps that do not work on a remote desktop do work this way, and it is much more performant - you can play videos even.

            Opera as a browser works surprisingly well. Maybe not for full webbrowsing, but more than enough to act as controller of a simple web interface. The 7" tablet as such acts as control panel for some devices (my 3d printer and normal printer). Using remote desktop I can check the model I'm printing in the slicer on windows. I can also use it for controlling my home automation's web interface, but do not really do it that much.

            The other tablet is - due to its size - very suitable as a wifi monitor (spacedesk), remote desktop device or moonlight client (some games that don't need a big monitor or so and run on PC but work fine on a small screen). It is a bit heavy, so not that convenient as a portable monitor.
            Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)