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Australia
Asked — Edited

Soundboard PC With ARC Mobile App

Just downloaded the ARC mobile app to my tablet to test my saved cloud projects.
I am getting no audio output. All my projects use the SoundboardPC control to send audio to the robot's bluetooth amp or speaker.
Is there a problem with the the SoundboardPC control and the ARC mobile app?
With the old software the audio played on my tablet without even connecting to the robot.


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Synthiam
#1   — Edited
We had difficulty with the soundboard pc function. It’s being worked on - but no promises just yet. Stay tuned:)
Australia
#2  
Sad to say but I have had to discontinue using ARC Mobile due to a few unresolved issues. The soundboard PC function mainly and inconsistencies between Laptop functionality and ARC mobile - eg. simple AutoPosition commands behave oddly and my robot no longer stops so is too dangerous to use with ARC mobile. I shall keep checking each version of the software as released. Fortunately all functions work correctly on my Laptop and with the old EZ Builder app - which of course can't be updated now.
Synthiam
#3   — Edited
That's great to hear - because ARC Mobile will not be supporting new features so it's best to not rely on it and move on to using ARC for Windows.

EZ-Builder PC has been discontinued as well and replaced with ARC for Windows. You can download and install ARC for Windows here: https://synthiam.com/Products/ARC

It's advised to install ARC for Windows, otherwise there is no support for ARC on this forum as it's deprecated.

For the very limited free mobile app support of ARC controls, take a look on the manual page for the designer here: https://synthiam.com/Docs/Skills/User-Interface/Interface-Builder?id=16063
Australia
#4   — Edited
Phasing out the mobile app is a backwards step. It means no-one can control the robots on a mobile device. That limits my robotics activities with school groups as we don't have laptops to pass around. I am curious as to why the old EZBuilder App worked so well and the new ARC mobile does not.
Synthiam
#5   — Edited
I should have been more clear - we're phasing it out for supporting new advanced ARC skills. The mobile app was always limited to provide the default functionality for our partner company EZ-Robot's product support. The challenge of supporting the free mobile app is that the ARC design of add-on skills is not compatible with mobile devices. Mobile devices are not computers and therefore do not provide the advanced functionality of ARC. The mobile app will be maintained as-is to support the EZ-Robot partner company products. The only function removed from ARC mobile is the Soundboard PC (which i'll expand on below).

Summary is, the ARC mobile works as intended for the functionality required for EZ-Robot product default apps (JD, Roli, Six & AdventureBot). ARC for Windows has been designed to harness the powerful capabilities of PC CPUs and peripherals. The future of robotics will not be powered by mobile devices due to their limited OS feature-set and hardware. To support on-going advanced developments of robotics, ARC has been designed to support cutting-edge technologies - which unfortunately are not compatible with mobile device operating systems and hardware.

It's a difficult compromise between supporting legacy mobile apps and advanced technologies. While a large number of our users are in education, a significant portion of our users are enterprise and scientific development. Which, ironically, will be the industries that your students will grow up to work in. While the ARC mobile can provide basic Blockly & RoboScratch programming to students, the industry of robotics is advancing so quickly that newer technologies require PC CPUs and peripherals. Your students will end up in careers using ARC for Windows - however, the basics of ARC mobile is still a great introduction.

If there was another option to support dynamic skills and advanced technologies on mobile, I would have figured out a solution - but mobile technology is just too limiting. That is why many of the mobile feature have always been limited compared to the big brother ARC (or legacy EZ-Builder). Actually, the only feature that has been limited is the Sound Board PC. And this is because we received thousands of complaints of some devices being incompatible with playing audio. It may have worked for your devices, but for many others it was an absolute nightmare for us to support:(
Australia
#6  
Thanks for the detailed scenario. I understand where you are coming from. I think I could still use the ARCMobile if that soundPC function was restored. All my robots use a bluetooth receiver to power good quality speakers to get the sound quality and volume I need. Do you think the soundPC function will ever be re-instated on the ARCMobile?
I guess an MS Surface Pro is another option which I presume ARC would run on under Win10.
Synthiam
#8   — Edited
With the number of development projects ongoing on our end, it's unlikely we'll have free cycles to re-introduce Soundboard PC. Specifically because of the number of incompatible devices (mostly Android) that crashed the app. Android unfortunately does not have a quality control or governed standard for flavors of its operating system. The fact we got the mobile app to work at all is still a mystery to us:)

As for the question regarding MS Surface Pro - the answer is yes. Albeit, it's a costly solution. I have a Surface Pro for my daily laptop and while it's an attractive design, the cost vs. feature sets/reliability has been sort of disappointing (specially for what I paid). I'm at home typing on my Dell XPS P56F (9550) from 2017. Even with a previous generation processor and 1050 NVidia, compared to my surface, the DELL is much faster and more reliable. I can't bring myself to justify the cost of a surface pro when related to the number of other laptops available. I think one of the biggest complaints I have (and so does Linus Tech Tips on YouTube) is the unit throttles CPU due to heat very easily. Its very sleek thin profile does not make it great for keeping cool under load.

Now - does the Surface run ARC? Sure does. Does it run ARC well? Sure does! In fact, ARC is so efficiently written that it will run on your dvd player. Well, you know I'm kidding :). But it will run great on very low cost hardware. For example, the Latte Panda or Up-Board are very old and low cost Intel CPUs that can barely play a YouTube video. Yet, ARC can handle multiple cameras at 30+ fps with Exosphere and other skills at the same time.

An alternative to a surface pro for education use, because you desire a tablet, would be the Lenovo thinkpad tablet. Being 1/4 of the price of a surface pro, the thinkpad tablet would be great for education use (and tough for kids). Given that you can purchase 4 thinkpad tablets for the price of 1 ms surface pro.

Now, if the surface pro is for yourself and you like the idea of having a tablet/keyboard/laptop combo with style - then go for it. I mean, I did and while it's not my favorite laptop, I certainly don't hate it. I merely recognize improvements that could have been thought of prior to manufacturing. Although, that's why Microsoft isn't a hardware company after all:D
Australia
#9  
Thanks again for your comments. Food for thought. I'll look at the Lenovo thinkpad option.