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There are two types of Android devices we commonly get questions on –
- Generic Android Devices, which could be called media players, tv boxes, sticks, or other nicknames, are inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to buy. Unfortunately, we do not recommend using them.
- Commercial Android Devices – There are several companies that have geared their devices toward Digital Signage and provide support for using them in these scenarios. Typically, the cost is higher for commercial Android devices, and you will still need to address other issues like security, remote management, and updates. Some companies provide these services for an additional cost or license fee. Usually, the cost factor of using a commercial Android device is higher than that of an equivalent Chrome device.
Some of the issues we have encountered testing generic Android media players are…
- Updates – Devices rarely receive firmware updates to correct issues. Many are running very old versions of Android and will never be updated. There are still devices on the market today running Android versions from 8+ years ago, that have not and will not receive key updates for security.
- Performance – Many devices are running generic firmware with poor performance, or missing features. We find that even with similar specifications, a Chrome device easily outperforms commonly sold Android boxes. We have encountered many Android devices with poor performance, cooling issues, media playback issues, and general freezing or crashing during content playback.
- Security – Along with running old versions of Android and not receiving updates, many devices are configured or built in ways that leave the device vulnerable. To get the device to act properly for Digital Signage and Kiosks, many manufacturers modify the operating system and turn off or remove key features that keep the device protected from backdoors, attacks, and unauthorized applications. Very few of these devices have ANY Google support or backing, despite running unlicensed versions of the Google Play Store. Many of them have been ‘rooted’ or hacked to adjust core operating system features, because they were not designed for signage, and do not have a proper kiosk mode for use with digital signage.
- Support – Most of the companies providing generic Android devices provide little after-sale support, especially for commercial use cases like Digital Signage where devices are running 24/7.
- Quality – We have seen quality issues with the devices, cooling, components not matching specifications or changing between orders, and many failed power supplies after 24/7 use.
- Lifecycle – The Android platform is designed for consumer phones and tablets. It has a one year release cycle. It has also suffered from major setbacks due to the lack of after-sale support from device manufacturers, with device manufacturers preferring you buy a new device.
- Remote Management – Must supply your own secure remote management. No management features built in.
All of these considerations are things that a Chrome device, with Chrome Enterprise Management, will do out of the box. No extra time or money spent, just right into devices that display your Arreya Digital Signage quickly and easily.
While Arreya is compatible with nearly any modern device or OS that can display the web platform, there are still a number of key factors to consider when using a device for 24/7 digital signage.