Configuring Android tablet to load a WiFi device's webpage on startup?
June 5, 2021 8:40 AM   Subscribe

What would the simplest way be to set up an Android tablet to, upon startup, run a script to connect by default to a Raspberry Pi's WiFi access point, and open up a browser window set to a simple webpage URL served off the RPi? This way, the user would just have to turn on RPi, turn on the tablet, and after booting, the tablet would automatically connect to and act as an interface for the wirelessly-connected RPi.

Apologies in advance for my non-technical explanation! Some friends and colleagues have helped me develop a simple video camera for educational purposes, which is based around a Raspberry Pi with no physically connected screen. The RPi has a connected camera and also acts as a web server which a user can connect to via built-in WiFi as a mobile access point (a laptop or other mobile device can connect to the RPi via its built-in WiFi as a mobile access point and then input the Raspberry Pi-based camera's URL/IP address into a web browser bar to load a very simple camera configuration webpage and video stream, all of which is served off the RPi itself).

The users would prefer to just turn on a dedicated, inexpensive tablet and have it automatically connect to the RPi-based camera via WiFi and display its camera device webpage in a maximized browser without having to remember to bring and connect their own laptop to the device, open a browser window, and navigate to the camera device page bookmark. For ergonomics and to enable the user to physically position themselves around the trainee freely, it's important for the tablet "viewfinder" and RPi-based camera to be wirelessly connected via WiFi.

To keep the viewfinder system inexpensive and yet portable and wireless, I'm thinking an Android tablet would be ideal for this purpose, but my own technical knowledge around Android tablet programming/scripting is nil.

Any help would be very welcome!
posted by junebug to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Android devices will auto-connect to the wifi access point with the strongest signal amongst those they know the access keys for. So if you make the Pi the only wifi access point whose key your tablet knows, it will connect to it as soon as it comes within range.

Many Android home screen launchers allow browsers to add home screen launcher icons for specific web pages. When this is done, the browser will typically display the page in full screen mode with no decorations. So if your users would accept needing to tap Raspberry Pi Camera on the home screen of that tablet, then you don't need any cunning scripting to make that work; just bring up the camera webpage and add a home screen shortcut for it.

If your tablet comes saddled with some brain dead factory launcher that doesn't offer your browser(s) this option, or some brain dead browser that doesn't support it, just install Firefox and Apex Launcher from the Play Store and set those as defaults. Apex is easily configured to display a home screen containing only a single shortcut if that helps.
posted by flabdablet at 9:13 AM on June 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can recommend Fully Kiosk Browser - it can launch and show a web page when the tablet is powered on.
posted by samj at 9:20 AM on June 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Many thanks to both of you for your help! I ordered a cheap Kindle Fire HD tablet as a proof of concept which doesn't seem to be vanilla AndroidOS, but seems to be able to load apps such as Apex Launcher or Fully Kiosk after installing the Play Store. I'll give these solutions a try.
posted by junebug at 11:59 AM on June 7, 2021

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