tablets and wall mounting


Senior Member
With luck more vendors will move away from proprietary wall controls and toward using more generic tablet-like solutions.
But along the way there's the nagging problem of keeping the devices powered.  What, if any, solutions or standards exist to address this?
I've seen a few iPad mounts, mainly ones with a big-ass magnet that grabs a shell for the iPad.  It also appears these have an inductive charger.  Nice, except for the high cost of the tablets, their closed nature and Apple's phenomenally annoying tendency of changing the form factor all the damned time.  Not that other vendors don't have their own case size variations, of course, but their price-points often make it a reasonable plan to just pick up double the number of tablets as spares.
Is there anything like a generic induction charging setup for micro-USB connected tablets?  Yeah, it'd be great to have it built into the tablet, but barring that, what about an add-on?
But, barring that, what about the possibility of using PoE wiring to provide DC power for USB charging?  I've seen various gizmos offered that claim to do this, but has anyone used any of them?  The trick being finding a way to have a pigtail cable for the device not left looking like crap on the wall if the tablet is taken down for hand-held use.
I'm sensing this may be a fine place to start dabbling in 3D printing...
IMO tablets are getting cheap enough to not worry about taking them off the wall. It also solves the issue of appearance when the tablet is removed. Buy one for the wall and another for a table/desk/counter. It is quite easy to replicate the vidabox style wall frame for any size tablet and a right angle micro USB will fit nicely. Then a recessed wall box with a USB/outlet combo and you're all set (assuming you can mount above/near an outlet). Otherwise, there are many POE to 5V devices.
One of the criteria I always consider is what happens in the future, when these technologies are outdated, or when I sell the house. Given that, I decided the wireless/tabletop touchpad is the best route for me.  So as things change, wireless protocols, OS's, device failures, I can just upgrade without having to rewire or do drywall.
Also, I found I am too lazy to get up off the couch to walk over to a touch screen or keypad to do something.  Much better to have the devices within reach of where I hang out regularly.  
The only benefit I see to having wall mounted panels is the cool factor, but that tends to wear off.  Imagine how cool it would be if you had installed a 320x240 8 bit color touchscreen running windows CE 5 years ago.  
Just some things to think about... :)
Despite all that, I do like the looks of the Launchport solution, but it looks like it is ipad only....
Tablets have gotten to the point that for user interface purposes they will not quickly become obsolete.  There are only so many cores and pixels you need for a decent UI presentation.  I would probably not wall mount a tablet anywhere there was the option to put one on a table/shelf/counter.  But there are a few places where there may not be any horizontal surfaces available that I would consider them.
I've considered a 3d printer for exactly that reason!  That said, a couple thoughts on the matter based on comments above:
  • Apple may change form annually, but I still have 3 of the very first ipads still in use around my house.  They no longer get software updates, but they're still viable and if my home automation were pretty stable, there'd be no reason to change just because a new version came out.
  • I agree that having a handheld tablet in a more convenient place makes sense; that said, having one on the wall already powered on and connected to your HA system showing realtime status could be pretty valuable for another set of uses; granted, if I'm sitting on the couch it may be easier to pull out my phone - but if I'm walking by and see that half the lights upstairs are on and the HVAC fan is set to on, or the house is set to 73 and it's now 68 degrees outside and I can turn off the AC, or uses like that - it can catch my attention to issues and let me solve them right away.
  • I think the Launchport is my current favorite - most of the time you can have it docked, but then you can grab it when you want it - and the part that's integrated with the home doesn't change; you just buy a new adapter when you upgrade your ipad after 3 years or so... AND with a desktop charger as well it may solve my previous point since now you can take it to the couch and dock it on your end-table dock while watching TV.
It sure SEEMS like there should be better options out by now, but I haven't found it yet - which is why there's not hing permanently mounted in my home yet.  What I'm really holding out for is a good interface that can have tabletop and wallmount options (ideally with different size screens) that have built-in intercom as well as all the other HA stuff we do today; when that happens, I could see large ones in the central area downstairs and in the MBR and smaller stations in each other bedroom in lieu of intercom and audio selectors with customized screens for each room so the kids can only access their own stuff, but have the flexibility of hitting "goodnight" that turns on their music, sets their lights to a preset level and sets the hour-long dim cycle.  /dreaming
Opening up my Nexus 7's and soldering power to the internal pogo pin connectors was pretty straightforward.  I use hacked up USB over cat5 adapters for charging.  Works great. *knock on wood*
Not wall mount, but more useful in my opinion.  I think a great combination is finally available at a reasonable price.
The Nexus 7 2013 with the built in Qi charging combines with the newly released KiDiGi Docking Stand.  The stand makers have already updated their charger within a month of some poor comments (bright light and annoying beep upon docking).  Shows good support from the producer.
Plus this combination is ~$270 total.
The angle on the dock is about perfect for a bedside/side table dock.
There's need for both kinds of mounts.  I don't see any one style as better than the rest, each fits different situations.
As I mentioned, I like wall mounts because you know where it is.  You don't have to rummage around for it.  The same can sort of be said for a table/desk mount.  In that it becomes a 'known location'.  Equally useful in finding it when you need, along with being able to notice when it's NOT in place.  Leaving a base there, as opposed to just a dangling cord, also helps establish it's 'place'.  
I think I'm going to order a couple of Qi receivers and do some experimenting...
Automate said:
Heh, I've had that page bookmarked for a while.  Been following that site for years.  
I find when putting things into place it helps to have a stand, holster or other means to help guide/align the item.  That and to catch it in the event of the inevitable slips.  A bare tablet depending solely on magnets would worry me.  That and I don't like putting stuff straight against wall paint as it'll show the wear too readily.
I'm leaning toward using a clear acrylic under-cabinet shelf in the kitchen to hold a tablet.  With an induction charger in it and a waterproof keyboard.  I've got enough clearance under the cabinet to make it work.  
I've got several Nexus 7 2013 tablets that I plan on using as automation controllers.  The built-in Qi induction charging is nice as it avoids having a socket get broken or a cord to deal with.  Plop it down into a dock or over a charging pad and you're done.  I do plan on putting some guide nubbies or something (sugru?) along the points where the tablet would sit on the under-cabinet shelf.  
Welcome to the Cocoontech forum Robbin!
Historically here tried Sibo's Android in wall (with POE) tablet with tiny stereo speakers in the front. 
I Uberized the original Android OS cooking it to my liking; still though couldn't get away from the cell phone look.
You didn't see it anyways with the Homeseer Touchscreen client over lay; so it was really that I knew it still was there anyways.
I am not into automated wireless Android in wall tablets that look like oversized cell phones that serve as automation consoles; but that is me and my personal opinion.   I started a bit from the pessimistic side of the whole endeavor of an Android based in wall touchscreen.
The design was OK.  The above pictured in wall device looks nicer.
Sibo though is on my S-List forever relating to their piss poor support (ignorance is bliss I guess) of their products to me (personally) as they went.  That did though ding my opinion of the company.
on my queries for support a few years back.
@Robbin, is it better today? 
What's the rationale behind putting an HDMI output on something like this?  Is the expectation you'd want to use a device like this to send video to a separate screen?  From what kind of applications?  Does Android even support such a thing effectively?  (Separate screens, each with their own bitmap, that is).  I understand mirroring but don't really see that as terribly useful either.  Now, HDMI input, that'd be useful, to allow one of these to operate as a display.  But input?  
Composite video input I could see being useful for camera input, but quite a lot is IP anyway (and perhaps better that way).  So, again, why?
The impression I get from a lot of these chinese suppliers is they're mindlessly cloning other stuff, or they're slightly re-jiggering something they built for someone else.  Neither leaves me with any sort of confidence the stuff will actually work usefully, let alone be supported effectively.
Hey Pete,
Sibos products have gotten better. established a reseller and distributor agreement with Sibo and has provided a better local support for US customers.

The new Android PoE units have been well designed and are quite stable. We have been testing these for office meeting room booking applications and so far have been reliably performing on a 24x7 basis.