Recommended min android version and cheap (but good) devices

I would like to know what version of Android OS is the minimum to run this app. I would like to buy some cheap Android phones to use this with.


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technically android 5.1 is the minimum but really I think I was overly generous. Android BLE support was pretty buggy until after 6.0. 90% of people that have bluetooth problems are running 6.0 or older.

So I’d say: Pick a phone newer than 6.0 ;-).

Wrt super cheap phones, I’ve heard the “Xiaomi Redmi 8A” is actually a surprisingly nice phone. So I just ordered one of those to use as my “extra” testing phone. It was only about $50 more than those super cheap $70 phones and supposedly actually usable ;-). I’m happy to update with what I find after it arrives.

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In fact, is there a cheap tablet one could use? Currently all Apple devices here and I’d rather like to be able to help test/demo the app - advice very welcome!

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Hmm. Your question made me curious. The Amazon fire tablet is only $49 and should almost work with Meshtastic. Only two things missing:

  • App needs to be listed on their app store (easy to do)
  • App shouldn’t depend on Google play (I don’t think it does)

Since the device is so cheap and the idea is interesting. I just ordered one to see if it works.

Oh, I’d be interested in what happens with that… Thanks!

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Ok. I received my Amazon Fire Tablet. Findings:

  • WOW!!! It is only $49 - though it shows ads on the lockscreen
  • Works great!
  • It doesn’t have a GPS. Which is fine if you are using it with a meshtastic device that has a GPS (a TBEAM etc), but not a good choice if radio doesn’t have a built-in GPS.

So if anyone needs a cheap android tablet that talks well with Meshtastic, I think this is way better choice than no-name devices from China.

I did find a couple of places where the app was accidentally depending on Google Play. I’ve fixed this and the fixes will be out in the release that happens later this week. I’ll also be uploading this build to the Amazon app store, so it is easy to install on these devices.


Thanks very much. I shall buy one!

Ordered one. I’d like to show off the app to some people when you can upload it. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Bestbuy Cellphone deals

Filters:* Bluetooth Enabled * Built-In GPS * No-Contract * Unlocked * Android

Starting at 25.00 US dollars

Awesome! I didn’t realize there were so many cheap options

Any idea when the app will be up on the Amazon store? Thanks.

I’m not sure if this is a thing only in the Walmart near me, but I was able to go in and pick up 2 Alcatel Verso s for super cheap. they were on clearance for $25 but when I got to the counter they were $9. I’m still waiting on my TTGO to show up but I think these phones should work.

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Nice. That is a great deal for testing devices. I’m constantly surprised how cheep phones can be.

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It is there now:

Downloaded. Works great. Very impressed with the project. I want to use it to have a network of ultralights at our local airport.

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Oh yes. I’m also a pilot (and plane builder) and the range for flying vehicles (because of perfect LOS) should be amazingly long range.

It would be nice to have a bare bones android device that was made exclusively for this purpose, that didn’t have all the cameras and phone hardware. Seems like someone in China could make it super cheap. For that matter, they could simply combine the radio and device into one unit.

Would this one work?

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yep! I think that would be a great choice. Though use it with a TBEAM, because the Amazon devices don’t have their own GPSes

Is gps actually required for things to operate properly?