Project: Interface with Android Cell Phone via Amazon Kindle Touch
Background: I have spent so much time on computers over the past 10 years that my eyes hurt me when I’m on a screen that produces light for too long. I get headaches. This pain makes it difficult for me to do things that I would like to do on a computer (like planning and writing in my journal), but end up doing on paper because of discomfort. The problem rules out almost all devices except for non-light emitting screens like eInk. The problem is that mobile devices that support eInk do not support other applications that I would like to use. For example, the kindle does not support Evernote, which is my favorite journal and idea application. My cell phone, on the other hand, does support Evernote and other applications that I would like to use. It also connects to the Internet from anywhere. It’s way faster than the Kindle.
Hardware: Samsung Galaxy Note (on AT&T, not unlocked), Kindle Touch (5.0 Operating System), Timbuktu Case
Objective: I want to be able to interact with my cellphone operating system through my Kindle Touch screen. I want to see the interface I have on my phone on the Kindle Touch. I want to be able to touch the Kindle and interact with my cellphone.
Research I have done so far:
  1. I have discovered a software that allows one to remote view and control an Android phone. The Kindle Touch is built on top of the Linux operating system and because AndroidScreencast works on Mac, Linux and Windows, in theory, we should be able to make it run on the Kindle.
  2. In order to install AndroidScreencast on the Kindle’s Linux operating system, you’ll have to Jailbreak the device. I’ve researched how to do that. My touch is running version 5.0 and you will probably want to use the newest jailbreak he talks about in that article. The jailbreak page has a hack at the bottom to allow for ssh access to the Kindle. There’s also a way to reset the root password. These tools should allow one to install AndroidScreencast.
  3. I’ve researched connecting the phone to the Kindle and have not been able to find a cord that connects microUSB to microUSB. There are however, cords that connect microUSB to USB. Then there are adapters that go from USB to microUSB.
Outcome I want:
  1. I want to put the Kindle Touch and my cell phone into a single case. This is my case. I’ll put the cellphone in the strap and the kindle touch in it’s appropriate position, but upside down. This way the adapter on the cellphone and on the Kindle will be very close to each other when the case folds open.
  2. I want a short cord to connect the two. I don’t want something long. Something just long enough to connect the two devices and allow the case to fold open and close. I would prefer that it be microUSB to microUSB (maybe make a custom wire?) and not have the bulky USB2microUSB adapter. But we may have to have the adapter. I don’t know.
  3. I want to be able to connect the microUSB cord to the phone and the Kindle and then have AndroidScreencast start. Ideally it would start automatically when the Kindle detects the phone connection. Alternatively, if there were a way to connect, then turn on AndroidScreencast on the Kindle.
  4. I want AndroidScreencast to fill the screen with the cellphone screen (fullscreen)
  5. I want the cellphone operating system to respond to the Kindle Touch screen input so that I can interact with the applications on my cellphone.
  6. I want to be able to shut off AndroidScreencast and unplug and use my Kindle (to charge or read). And use my phone as usual.
  7. I want to be able to answer a call on my phone while the two devices are connected (I’ll probably have a bluetooth or wired headset so I don’t have to remove the phone from the case). This implies that the phone responds to touch input from the kindle and to microphone or phone input from the Android phone simultaneously.
Can this be done? Do you or anyone you know think you could achieve these 7 outcomes? I will pay to have this done for me.
UPDATE:
I got in touch with the guy who wrote the Kindle Touch Jailbreak and he said:
“You need to write a VNC viewer for kindle touch (there exists one for
kindle keyboard, but no touch controls). Then you create a wifi
hotspot on your phone and start a VNC server on the phone. Then you
can use the kindle to VNC to the phone. Speed will be an issue. So
will battery life. Good luck.”
I asked him about using USB and he said:
“If you want to write some kernel drivers, sure.”
Sounds like WIFI is the way to go inexpensive.
Thanks for the insight Yifan Lu!
Here’s the thread for the VNC Viewer that has already been created. And there are a couple of videos that show the response times lag 1 second on the Kindle 2 and longer on the Kindle DX.
UPDATE 2/25/2012
I realized, thanks to Yifan’s feedback, that maybe the Kindle Touch wasn’t the way to go, but instead, the Nook Simple Touch because of its Android system. In order to decide if it made sense to switch to the Nook, I tested VNC with my old Motorola Droid and Galaxy Note. I did the following:
  1. installed “BusyBox” free and “droid VNC server” from the Android market onto the Droid.
  2. I fired up the VNC server (it got stuck saying “starting server” and so I killed it using “Advanced Task Killer”, but when I reopened “droid VNC server”, it was running)
  3. I installed “android-vnc-viewer” onto my Galaxy Note.
  4. I connected to the server and saw and controlled by Droid (it lagged between commands pretty noticeably – also didn’t recognize certain swipes and gestures – couldn’t figure out how to select text)
  5. I couldn’t get the viewer to rotate with the phone and so I found an update of android-vnc-viewer with rotation and installed it.
  6. Finally, I discovered that I had to be connected to a Wifi Network for the two devices to talk to each other. I created a Wifi Hotspot on my rooted Droid but the Galaxy Note didn’t recognize it (maybe because it’s still locked by AT&T)

I may just get a nook and root it and use the Android system that it has. Then I’ll use my Note for its camera and phone and Internet connection.

I’d love to hear if anyone has ideas for better how to achieve turning a kindle or a nook into a reliable screen/interface to a better device or operating system.


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  1. Solved My Problem Rooting a Nook Simple Touch : Neal Harmon on March 15, 2012 4:10 am

    [...] trying to find someone to help me hack my Kindle on elance, I discovered that there is a great community of developers that have rooted the Nook [...]