Rethink the app?

I've just set up my new Pure i9. You've tried to make it simple and in many ways it is, but in practice, if you want to use the app, it might not be.

The biggest issue I foresee is that most of my relatives and friends have not had a Wifi basestation for the last 5 years... and neither have I! I assumed it would be enough to just use my phone as a hotspot while I'm at home (i.e. when I'm at home, I can schedule and setup things, when I'm away I naturally can't see the robot but it will stick to the schedule and keep working). I hope that's the way it goes but I wasn't even able to connect to the robot when using my phone as a hotspot and the robot seemed unable to connect to the internet via the phone? Was that just my phone or is it really the way it works?

So, I dug up an old basestation from the attic, put my phone SIM into the USB 3G stick attached to that basestation (I wonder how many of my relatives even keep this stuff in their attics...) and then hooked up the robot and the phone into that. Installation went fine, but software update did not, scheduling did not work and the map was not drawn.

I then updated the firmware manually via the USB port (no mention of that in the manual? I dug that information up from this site) after which things started kind of working, but the robot was not able to set it's time? Finally I remembered my SIM card has two APs: one only allows the web, another one allows also other things like network gaming (PS4 etc.). Once I switched to that "wider" AP (which was only possible after I updated the firmware of the old base station!), everything finally started working.

Now I'm kind of wondering where to go from here: I obviously need to remove the SIM card from the Wifi base station, because I need to have it in my phone (of course). Will the robot then totally stop functioning again when it cannot reach the internet? Do I actually need to get a cheap SIM card just for the robot? I've been letting the robot clean for now since I haven't needed to leave home. At least I can just leave the basestation running... nice to have some use for it again ;-).

But one thing is for sure: If I get one of these to my grandpa I'll definitely just tell him all he needs to do is press "play" when he wants the robot to clean and I won't even mention the app or scheduling! I think especially scheduling is a major loss of functionality in that case.

You really need to figure some kind of an offline mode or hotspot support mode or something like that - also for setup.
Couldn't the app simply upload the latest firmware and time into the robot when it's initialized?
Obviously you cannot check the status of the robot "at home" if there's no internet "at home" since you took internet with you, that should be obvious to everyone.
But I really hope after this initial setup this device at least has become autonomous enough to work without my phone SIM when I'm away?

Well... with all that said, now that this little fellow is actually cleaning the apartment and drawing the map it seems to work very solidly indeed!-) Not getting stuck and it's starting to get "systematic" already. Good stuff!

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  • Update: So, based purely on one try this morning the robot schedule also works OK without the internet!

    However, setting the schedule simply fails without an internet connection. The settings do not go into the robot properly and in a few minutes they also disappear from the app.

    That means if I want to reschedule, I need to put my phone SIM into the 3G stick of the basestation, make the changes and then I can replace the SIM back into my phone again... a bother, but doable. The robot seems to do it's chores properly so I hope once the scheduling is done so it starts while I'm at work I can just about forget it exists (which was exactly the original plan ;-).

    As it is I could already recommend this to all my relatives and friends if they are OK with starting the cleaning manually at the push of a button. But since most of the people I know do not have "internet at home" (they simply have their phones and carry internet with them), I would have to say attempting the setup process at all isn't worth the bother for them: an "old school" wifi-at-home-setup is a requirement if you want to use the app and scheduling features.

  • I think its design needs to have mobile phone and the robot connect to the same wifi. Only if the design changed otherwise we need to have a internet base. I hope the company can work out the alternative solution as an update in the future.

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