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Tablets and the Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK)

Posted by Dan, in Android 19 August 2011 · 11,334 views

Our newest product, Servus, has a requirement to control hardware pager systems via RS-232. Since Servus is Android tablet-based, it made perfect sense to use the recently introduced Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) to implement this capability. However, support for the ADK has been a bit slow all-around. This post details what I've found through trial and error thus far.

ADK Development Boards

This one's easy -- use the official Arduino Mega ADK board. I'm successfully programming/testing it on an iMac running Lion without having installed any third-party drivers. I can't say the same for the Freaduino clone board I purchased from China before the official board was available. It's sitting idle in a drawer because I couldn't get it working properly. If you can get your hands on an official Google ADK board, I'm sure that works great too but they appear to be pricey.

Tablet Support

I have all the below tablets so this matrix is based on my first-hand experience.

TabletOS VersionUSB PortSynopsis
Motorola Xoom3.2Micro USBThis tablet works with the ADK.
Acer Iconia A5003.2Micro USBThis tablet works with the ADK.
Acer Iconia A1003.2Micro USBThis tablet works with the ADK.
ASUS Eee Pad Transfomer TF1013.2ProprietaryI have been unable to get this tablet to work with the ADK. It turned out my sync cable was temperamental; This tablet works with the ADK.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.13.1ProprietaryThis tablet works with the ADK.

So, as it stands today, out-of-the-box you can only use any of the above tablets. If you just want to use a phone, I can confirm that the Nexus One works fine with the ADK as well.

Hopefully this information will prove useful to people since I couldn't find definitive (or completely accurate) information anywhere on the web.

Update: Since the Acer Iconia has been updated to 3.2, the ADK now works.

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