IoT M2M blog

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Waterproofed Android smartphones, tablets and pet trackers

Android devices and pet trackers for life, not just for Christmas – original blog posted in Nov 2011

As Janis Joplin sang, “My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends”. Two of my friends own an iPhone and they always buy the latest smartphones. I will “make amends” and skip buying  a tablet for now and instead order the new Motorola Razr Droid, because it has a water protection as well. It is not as rugged as the Panasonic Android Tablet, but is rugged enough to be sprayed with champagne at the next party.  After that I will ask both my friends to try the same with their iPhones. 🙂

Last week I had a similar experience during a business trip. The meeting was related to pet trackers. In each second to third sentence the meeting partner used the word “cheap”. Cheap and good rarely co-incide. They showed me several very cheap Chinese mobile tracking devices. During my presentation I used the word “quality” or similar words. I explained that the cheapest car in Germany was the Trabant and that they stopped production years ago and it was regarded as something of a joke. The cheap guys with a terrible produce were not successful and other guys producing cars like the Porsche are still in business. The potential customer showed me the jumps of the map pins on the display screen and said they were not happy about this. The locations of the cheap tracking devices were jumping around, sometimes by kilometres, on the screen. It was useless for tracking children, but it was cheap. Cheap, but not good. After hearing the word cheap again and again, I took the Chinese tracker and held it over my half full cup of coffee and asked if it was o.k. to drop it.

The reaction: “Please stop!”. 🙁

The iPhone will break and the Chinese tracker will break,.  However my new Motorola Droid Razr , my customized pet tracker and the new Android Panasonic Tablet will keep working. My concept for a pet tracker will be good enough for dogs that suddenly decide to go swimming in a lake. The map pins on the screen for other GPS trackers where I have consulted do not jump around. One GPS tracker is so sensitive that it works with a GPS antenna pointing at the ground, inside a car and under the seat of the car. If we activate the A-GPS then the sensitivity will rise by 18 dB. The GPS module is already 3 db more sensitive than the best competitor I know. I can find a missing dog indoors in your basement, meanwhile the Chinese tracker will lose your dog during its swim or just being moved in a car after being dognapped.  And in addition I have access to a supplier who has GPS patch antennas tuned in 2 MHz steps. The evaluation kit contains 10 antennas in various sizes: 12×12, 15×15, 18×18 or 25×25 mm, which easlity deliver a further 3 dB over standard designs. A GPS patch antenna shifts its centre frequency up and down by changing the ground plane, the type of plastic, the thickness of plastic or just the distance of GPS patch antenna to the plastic enclosure. 18 dB + 3dB + 3B = 24 dB. 3 dB is equivalent to double the transmitting power.

BTW, there is no off-the-shelf embedded GSM antenna. You will always need some customization to create at least a matching circuit on your PCB. If somebody recommends the wrong antenna design you cannot expect a “Porsche”. In the worst case you will get a “Trabant” and pay for a “Porsche”.

Trabant and history of Sachsenwerke at Wikipedia

If you want a “Trabant”, then please be so kind and send no e-mail to harald.naumann (at) gsm-modem.de because I am the wrong person. I just can help with a “Porsche” with price level for a “Volkswagen” or something in between. I love to use my skills and experience to make hardware concepts on an economic price level and I have no interest to design something with a low quality level and poor performance. Only happy customers will help with recommendations and references.

@ Panasonic: Well done. I like your new Android Tablet

It’s a perfect fit for use in tracking hunting dogs. Hunters are outside in the forest and iPads will break quickly during a hunt. The dog walkers that own a Husky and have to walk during heavy rain and snow will be happy with a waterproof Android smart-phone like mine. The shepherd will be maybe more happy with a Sony Ericson smartphone.

If you would like to know why I ordered a Motorola Razr Droid instead of a Sony Ericsson or an iPhone, just send and e-mail to harald.naumann (at) gsm-modem.de, wait for the next blog posts at www.gsm-module.de or sign the RSS feed or the email subscription.

Video about the new waterproofed Panasonic Android tablet

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