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Our sales team came to me earlier with a question about Android OS. I've never used Android, but I do know it is a Linux-based OS.

Frankly, I don't have the time to research for myself the capabilities of the Android OS. What I need to know is:

  • Is it possible to restrict web access to a single domain (domain.com, .domain.com, domain.com/)?
  • Is it possible to launch, on boot, the browser with a specific URL or perhaps if the home page is set, have it launch on boot to the home page?
  • Is there a 'Full Screen' mode for the browser that could be the default for whenever the browser is launched?
  • Can SMS/MMS/Email be disabled (if the tablet has those capabilities) but still maintain a 3/4G and/or Wifi connection?
  • Can I use a custom boot screen?

Since it's a Linux-based OS I imagine I could restrict the web access with IPtables or hosts files, but that of course means the OS has to support that, and I'm not sure if it does.

We hope to use a tablet running Android to tie in to our internal systems. The tablets will be in the hands of operators, who we do not want to be able to use the data connection for anything but our web-based application. Hence the need for browser-launch-on-boot, full-screen mode, and restricting web access.

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The web access is simpler to accomplish with a firewall/invisible proxy server, but that assumes the tablets are only on wifi. –  TREE Oct 6 '10 at 19:46
    
I was about to say the same thing. Is it a WiFi-only tablet? Just place restrictions in the router. It is far easier than trying to hack up your Android. –  TheBuzzSaw Jan 13 at 19:43
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes all this is possible but you'll have to root the tablet and whether or not that is possible will depend on the tablet.

Here's the answer to each request:

  1. Yes, you have to edit the hosts file for which you'll have to root the device.
  2. Yes, any browser (I recommend Dolphin HD) will let you set the home page, so just set this to the page you want it to launch with. With the Launch After Boot app (~$1.60) you can set the browser to launch on start-up.
  3. Yes, the aforementioned Dolphin HD Browser has a "Full Screen" mode under settings.
  4. Since you are rooting the device you can just uninstall the messaging (SMS/MMS/Email) apps.
  5. Yes. This app requires a rooted device (and dropping $2): Boot Animation Changer Pro

All in all this is possible assuming you can root you device, and while it won't be easy, it also wont require you programming any custom solution.

Edit: I should have mentioned that going "Full Screen" on the browser will not prevent people from navigating away from the browser screen to other parts of the device but you can basically uninstall every single app that you don't want your people using, and uninstall the market so they can't install more apps. You can also Password protect apps that you don't want people using with an app like App Protector Pro ($2). Any enterprising person will be able to get around anything you do with some work but that can be said about any workplace restrictions.

Edit #2: Don't quote me on this but I'll bet you could use Tasker to furhter restrict access to the device and/or services. Assuming you guys operate during set business hours and are at one bricks & mortar location, you can set location and time based restrictions so when they are in the store during business hours only certain things are possible. You would just need to password protect Tasker after setting it up.

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Perfect, that's what I was looking for. Not worried about anyone getting around our lock-outs; these will be in the hands of people who are generally anti-anything-computer. –  Mistiry Oct 8 '10 at 14:12
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You will have to modify the OS to support most of this, since it doesn't incorporate this by default, but since Android is fully open-source this shouldn't be too much of a problem. It's always better to put restrictions like these as near the kernel as possible so they are hard to bypass.

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