HP Slate 7 2801

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For the MRC Centenary event in June 2013, we acquired ten HP Slate 7" android tablets (type 2801). Below are some useful hints that could save you a lot of pain.

Camera Notes

These tablets have front and rear facing cameras - the rear offering better resolution in theory. In practise, we found they don't auto-focus very well, and they don't have any flash/lighting, so if you are wanting to scan barcodes, especially in dim lighting, test it beforehand. Some tablets performed better than others. The pic2shop scanning app was by far the best at coping with the lack of auto-focus, and to an extent with the poor lighting. See the setup information for the Barcode Epidemic for more information.

No GPS

There's no GPS functionality with this tablet, strangely, which reduces the usefulness of Google Maps.

As a result, there may be some Google Apps out there that refuse to install because they expect (and therefore presume they can insist on) GPS to be there. One example was our choice barcode scanner, pic2shop, which also specialises in searching shops in your locality for good deals, using the GPS to find your location. On earlier versions, it would say "this app is not compatible with your tablet" when trying to install it. (We reported this, and the developer was extremely helpful, and has fixed that in more recent versions.) So be aware of that if you want GPS, or any apps you're expecting to install might want it.

Wireless Network Issue

The HP build of Android has a bug that prevents you from configuring it for an Enterprise wireless network, such as Imperial-WPA. It simply crashes when you push connect. HP claimed this would never be fixed on the tablet [1], however Chris found a workaround [2].

We installed Wifi Advanced Configuration Tool. To use it:

  • Pretend that you're joining the Imperial-WPA network in the usual way in Android - Settings, Wifi, and click on Imperial-WPA.
  • Don't set anything - just Save the default configuration.
  • Straightaway, run the Wifi Advanced Configuration Tool, and click on Imperial-WPA.
  • Click on Key Management, and check that WPA_EAP is set.
  • Go back, click on Enterprise Configuration. EAP should be set to PEAP by default.
  • Set Phase2 to MSCHAPv2.
  • Set Identity to user@ic.ac.uk - whatever your IC user name is.
  • Set Anonymous Identity to @ic.ac.uk.
  • Set Password to your IC password.
  • Now click back until the configuration tool goes away.
  • Settings, Wi-Fi and see if it connects to Imperial-WPA now.

An easy way of flattening the battery

Suppose the tablet is powered-off, but plugged into the wall charging. If you then unplug the USB charging cable, the tablet will automatically and silently power itself on, and if you don't spot it, it will stay on until its battery is totally flat. Learned about that the hard way.

Developing and Debugging with Android Tools

HP haven't provided a USB driver for these tablets annoyingly, so we have to do it the hard way. But it's not too hard. So... (this is for Windows - I've not tried it on other platforms, but according to the web, it's easier!)

  • First, on the android tablet, go to Settings, Developer Options, and tick USB debugging.
  • Download Android Tools from developer.android.com. It's just a ZIP file, so Unzip it somewhere.
  • Run SDK Manager (the only EXE in the root of the installer).
  • It may want various updates - fine - but make sure you tick Google USB Driver under Extras.
  • When it's done, edit the file sdk\extras\google\usb_driver\android_winusb.inf (assuming you want 64-bit). Insert the following after all the Nexus devices:-
; HP
%SingleAdbInterface%        = USB_Install, USB\VID_03F0&PID_5E1D
%CompositeAdbInterface%     = USB_Install, USB\VID_03F0&PID_5D1D&MI_01
%CompositeAdbInterface%     = USB_Install, USB\VID_03F0&PID_601D&MI_01
  • Next, in a CMD prompt, type echo 0x03F0 >> adb_usb.ini obviously.
  • And then plug the USB cable in.
  • Go to Control Panel, Device Manager. Right click on "HP" under "Other Devices" and "Update Driver".
  • Choose "Browse my computer", then "Let me pick...".
  • "Show All Devices", and Next, then "Have Disk"
  • Browse to the android_winusb.inf we just edited.
  • Ok, Ok, Click "Android Composite ADB Interface" and Next. "Install it anyway" if a warning comes up.
  • And now if you run adb devices in sdk\platform-tools
  • If that still doesn't list any devices, try adb kill-server then adb start-server and try again.
  • And you really should be up and running now.