Nov

8

Kiosk Browser Grows Up, Goes Pro

3 years ago, mid-November | 37 Comments


Over the last few days I’ve worked on a new release of Kiosk Browser what I’m calling the SE (Special Edition) for now. I am undecided as to how I’ll distribute and license this and at what cost. I know that some of you are using Android tablets that do not have the Google Market on them. It may be that distribution is just an apk download from my server. I’m not sure many of you would appreciate entering licenses for each kiosk tied to a specific device, so I favour the one off fee, install however many times you want approach. I’ve put a poll at the end of this post, you can vote for the one you like the most or provide alternatives in the comments.

Kiosk Browser SE includes some extra, more advanced features such as

Home Screen

You can make Kiosk Browser SE the device home screen so that when pressing the home screen, or back button the user ends up in Kiosk Browser and not the ‘desktop’. When the device is booted Kiosk Browser SE will automatically start.

Orientation Lock

Kiosk Browser SE can lock the screen in landscape or portrait mode.

Wake Lock

If you don’t want your kiosk to sleep you can force it to stay awake.

Options are,

off: The device will sleep as normal. This may result in loss of network connectivity and the lock screen may appear.

dim: Wake lock that ensures that the screen is on (but may be dimmed); the keyboard backlight will be allowed to go off.

full: Wake lock that ensures that the screen and keyboard are on at full brightness.*

*be aware of screen burn in and panel lifetime.

Idle Timeout

If there’s no input from the user you can jump back to the start url after a number of minutes you specify.

Capture Images

You can automatically capture images from the front camera and/or the screen when the user interacts with Kiosk Browser SE. You can have either image captured or both. If you have both each image filename is stamped with the same time. You can tag your kiosk files with a specific identity to help keep files unique. Useful if multiple kiosks are uploading to the same space.

Upload Images

Captured images can be FTP’d to a server, once complete they are removed from local storage to free up space. The target FTP path can also be specified.

Remote Load

Sometimes it may be useful to load a new configuration from a remote server. On boot Kiosk Browser SE will check for a local configuration file and then optionally a remote one. The local configuration file can be automatically deleted once loaded so can be used for initial provisioning. Settings are saved internally so after configuration updates the kiosk can operate without the presence of the configuration file on the remote server.

XML Configuration

Configuration is via XML, there is no preferences screen.

I’ll update this post with the status of Kiosk Browser SE as development progresses. I’ve set myself a target date for release, so far that’s looking good. Of course there’s still the documentation to do as well.

you can look to the Kiosk Browser SE pages for more detail on the Pro version

If you’re twitter minded you can follow Kiosk Browser for updates and news

What licencing do you prefer?

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November 8, 2011 10:50


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37 Comments so far

  1. Android App: Simple Kiosk Browser : ..the cat came back.. on November 9, 2011 16:32

    [...] Kiosk Browser Grows Up, Goes Pro [...]

  2. shawn koehnen on November 10, 2011 00:36

    we are currently using you browser and was wondering if you can add a inactivity refresh after X amount of time of no browser activity, or touch to begin screan saver

  3. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on November 10, 2011 07:54

    Shawn,

    Did you want it to just blank the screen, rather than power it off?

  4. Frank Werner on November 11, 2011 12:47

    I would like to have a scheduled screen on/off (e.g. switch off the screen at night) to save panel lifetime.

  5. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on November 11, 2011 23:32

    I’ll have a look at implementing this Frank, thanks for your comment.

  6. Jim on November 15, 2011 00:37

    My company got an android tablet (ideapad Tablet K1) and installed your app Kiosk, we need to run files internally, an index.html that will call other two pages, how can this be accomplished? In other words, how can i call internal files under Kiosk Setup / URL / index.html?
    I will appreciate your help

    Sincerely

    Jim

  7. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on November 16, 2011 18:46

    Jim,

    Not sure if you got my email response but I’ll repeat it here

    You can use file:///path/to/your/index.html for example

    file:///sdcard/kiosk%20setup/index.html

    will load the file index.html from /sdcard/kiosk setup/

    note the ‘%20′, in the url you put in the preferences which represents
    the space.

  8. Jason on November 18, 2011 20:09

    Hi Andy,

    Lately I have been wanting to experiment with my new Android device Android your original browser program looks interesting to me. The problem is, I don’t have a device that is compatible with the Android Marketplace. I am wondering if you have a link for an .apk file or if you could send me one via email. There is potential that I would be interested in your pro version when it becomes available.

    Regards,
    Jason

  9. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on November 22, 2011 10:04

    The unfortunate thing about not using the market is that I can’t see if you have any issues (no crash dumps etc) – I’ll see what I can do, currently working hard on the pro version.

  10. Andreas Neumann on November 25, 2011 17:12

    Hi,

    in my institute, we had an archos7 home tablet. We rooted it and I installed your application from the android market. But now we have an problem. We can’t see any other side, than yours. If i config in the Kiosk Setup another url, than yours, I see only an black screen and not a website. But with your url, it operate correctly.

    Do you have an idea, where my mistake is?

    Andreas

  11. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on November 25, 2011 22:18

    Hi Andreas,

    Do you get a little android icon in the top left? Are you making sure you include the http:// in the url ?

    I certainly need to sort the background so that is is white and any errors are more obvious.

  12. Jason on December 4, 2011 20:23

    Any idea when the pro release will be available?

  13. David Male on December 5, 2011 11:22

    Hi!

    I work for Peugeot / Citroen UK and are currently in the process developing an online marketing solution to the dealer network via cheap android tablets stuck to the back of the dealer receptionist’s screens, to be viewed when customers come in.
    Your kiosk browser is great, but from the perspective of a car dealership, they would want the functionality to display their own adverts as well as Peugeot’s adverts and well as the dealer groups adverts.

    Request: Could you add the functionality to add multiple websites that your app would rotate around + have a setting for the amount of time before rotating from one advert (web page)to another? For clarification, with any franchise setup – like Costa Coffee for example, you may have to advertise Costa’s own adverts, but you may also want to do your own local offers. For car dealers, there could be 3 different stake holders: 1) The Manufacturer 2) Car Dealer group 3) Local car dealership.

    Hope that makes sense! Cheers.

  14. adforce on December 7, 2011 20:02

    We are currently using your app and it looks like most of our wants/issues are getting wrapped up in the next update. Any update on a projected timeline/cost?

  15. shawn on December 12, 2011 21:42

    Hey Andy love the new features coming for the pro version. As for the screensaver comment before, I would have the option of just returning to the home url like you are adding, or it going thru a slideshow of non functional web urls, then when you touch the screen it bring you back to the home url.

  16. Fred on December 29, 2011 00:06

    Lovely app, works like a charm. We will go Pro in production to kill the back/next buttons.

    I am wondering if there is any way to get the keyboard to come up without having them click an input text field. I have use jQuery to setfocus on the textfield, hoping that would do the trick, and it sets the cursor there, but the keyboard won’t come up unless they touch that spot.

    Any hope for me?

  17. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on January 17, 2012 14:44

    @Jason

    The Pro app is available from the market now :

  18. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on January 17, 2012 14:46

    @David

    I’ll have a look at this and add it to my to do list.

  19. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on January 17, 2012 14:48

    @adforce

    The Pro app is on the market now currently priced at £9.99

  20. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on January 17, 2012 14:57

    @shawn

    Ok, interesting feature, worth looking at I think. I’m guessing you’re wanting advertising to display until someone wants to use the device?

  21. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on January 17, 2012 15:02

    @Fred

    I’ll have a look at this to see if I can sort something out.

  22. Jim on March 11, 2012 00:16

    Andy,
    Not sure if you are available for custom work (or if your software can do this already), but we are looking for a kiosk app like SE which will also enable selected apps. When the apps are closed, the homescreen should return to the chosen default browser homescreen. It is important that the user not be able to break out of the kiosk mode and attain access to unapproved apps or websites.

    If this requires customization, please send me a note so we can discuss.
    Thanks,
    Jim

  23. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on March 16, 2012 15:41

    Kiosk Browser SE can operate as a Home screen so that’#s the first part sorted. Secondly Kiosk Browser SE can run applications from the HTML. You just need to use the Kiosk.launch javascript command eg:

    Last FM

    The only thing to be aware of is that the other applications might not run full screen or might allow users to access the features you don;t want..

  24. fdias on April 5, 2012 22:49

    Dear Andy,

    I’m interested in your SE app, but i have some concerns with what I’ve seen on the free version.

    - is There a reconnect feature on the SE version. Meaning if There is no connection on startup can the app try and open the url once the connection is restablished?

    - the zoom from its browser is very different from the native Android browser. my app looks smaller in yours regardless if i use fullscreen or a 200% zoom.

    I would suggest a trial period of the SE app since it seems to be very different from the free version.

    Also how doea the per seat license work? Say I need 20 licenses for 20 tablets.

    Thanks in advance for the answers.

    Best Regards

  25. Alex on April 12, 2012 03:39

    I need this app for the Sony Google TV. How can I get it on the device. I wasn’t able to find it in the TV’s market.

  26. Jason on May 8, 2012 16:50

    Can I use a Flash file .swf as the starting URL?

  27. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on May 9, 2012 07:57

    Alex,

    right now I don’t have a build environment for Google TV, I also don’t have anything to test it on. It is on my roadmap though. I don’t have a timescale at this time.

  28. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on May 9, 2012 07:58

    Jason,

    to be honest I haven’t tried that. If you have flash installed it should run ok but I’ve not tried it as a start url

  29. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on May 9, 2012 08:03

    Felipe,

    Yes there is a reconnect option so that if the network drops and comes back the device will try and reconnect. For sizing you can fix the zoom to suit your site. Alternatively you can use meta tags.

    Per seat licensing for 20 units would get you a slight discount – come direct to me, don’t go via the market. You can also have a default configuration preinstalled to aid roll out.

  30. Manuel on August 8, 2012 07:38

    Hi Andy,first of all sorry for my english, isn’t my native language.

    I’m interested in your application but i have a question… if the browser is in fullscreen mode, without notification’s bar… how i can know how much battery is left, or if there is an issue with wifi connection?

  31. Eric on August 16, 2012 22:19

    Does Kiosk Browser support Web Sockets?

  32. Mike Darnell on February 23, 2013 08:50

    Hello Andy,
    I am interested in using your browser with NFC tags. The end user is a visitor to a museum. The kiosk browser will be on a tablet which is carried by the user and touched to NFC tags in the artifact labels. These tags contain URLs (served either from files stored locally in the sdcard, or served by a Wifi access point from a normal web site). The only problem is that when I try to launch the Kiosk browser by including the AAR as the intended application in the NFC tag, it always begins at the Kiosk “start up” URL. Is there any way we can pass a different URL to the Kiosk browser at launch or to pass an address to it as a parameter?

  33. Pablo Beauregard on May 2, 2013 17:00

    Good app.

  34. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on June 24, 2013 09:26

    You can use the javascript functions of the application to return the battery state and wifi info.

  35. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on July 2, 2013 18:18

    Thanks Paul :)

  36. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on July 2, 2013 18:20

    I’ll speak to you via email Mike

  37. ScaredyCat / Andy Powell on July 2, 2013 18:21

    Not at this time Eric, but I’m looking at it.

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