I guess my might have figured out by the title of this post, that my wife I are expecting. So I have been looking into getting a baby monitor (and 258 other things!) and I’m not sure how I came across it to begin with, but I found a bunch of Baby Monitor applications in the Android Market. This got me to thinking, hey! I have a spare android phone, my wife’s old Samsung Moment and I thought it would be pretty sweet if I can use the Moment as a Baby Monitor that I can view from my HTC Evo 4G or my Wife’s HTC Evo Shift (while she is at work she could check in any time she wanted). I thought this would be fantastic!
So the next issue was to find an app that would let me do this, I only had to go through three (each one monitored, but did not provide video or sound to you, they just sent you text messages or called you) before I found one I liked, BabyCam Monitor by Dooblou, it runs a light weight web server on your phone, that any device with a web browser and Java installed can access. The limitation (and a good security measure in my opinion) is that it hosts it only over wifi and only to the network the wifi is connected to (local IP of the phone… 192.168.1.###), so to access this from the outside world, I would have to setup port redirection on my router enabling my wife to access the BabyCam while she is at work.
I downloaded the demo version and installed it on my Evo to give a spin. I liked the way the demo worked and it’s limitations are that you cannot use higher resolution camera settings (not an issue with the Moment! as the camera on it is a low 3.2mp), you are also limited to black and white only in the demo, the last limitation is/was 20 minutes in the application would stop monitoring. There have been 3 updates to the Demo since I first downloaded it, and now the limitation is 10 minutes (I had considered using the 20 minute demo instead of purchasing it, as I might still end up getting a retail baby monitor). Also in one of the updates is an “experimental” feature “audio!” pretty darn important if you ask me! Previously I believe you could see the sound wave of noises, but not hear them. Well this “experimental” feature worked flawlessly when I finally tested it (getting to that part). The last features of the app I feel a need to mention here, is that you can capture video and still images from the web page (the makers of this app have a prior history with web based camera monitoring software and have available a really good looking video surveillance app, although I have not tried it or looked really hard at it. They learned a few tricks before making the BabyCam Monitor). I do agree with some of the commentors that both of the video monitor apps this company makes are lacking in additional security features (ie password based login for the camera feeds! I have emailed the Developer in regards to this, so I hope it will be added in the future).
The next issue was to get the BabyCam on the Samsung Moment, which currently is not attached to a service plan. So, I spent 2.5 weeks researching rooting and custom Roms for the Samsung Moment, I found a few I liked, including a minimalist Rom that actually cut the size down from the original 160MB (compressed) Samsung Official android 2.0 update (or maybe it was the 1.6 version…) down to a teenie tiny 50MB +/- 2 or 3MB (I’ll check and update this part later). A smaller OS base usually means better performance, and I only need the camera and wifi working anyway!
While I did download 4 or 5 Roms to give a chance to, I only ever got one working, the SDX Froyo EF09 2.2.2 Rom v2.0.1 was the only Rom that would bootup (looks a lot like Android 2.3.3 and runs really fast on this older hardware), the others would all hang in a boot loop after flashing. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that not all Android devices work the same even within the same model. I know people with the HTC Evo 4G that have 2 or 3 or even 4 of them in their homes and they try to flash the same Roms to them and get different results, so I am not too concerned that some of the Roms didn’t work the first 4 attempts to flash them, I just went with the one that did (first try, both times I installed it, it is a prerequisite for one of the ones that did not work).
I then added a couple of useful apps, including Titanium Backup Pro so I could remove parts of the system Rom I don’t need. Basically anything non-internet/wifi and non-camera related, as the phone is not going anywhere or doing anything else, so I fully intend on only keeping the necessary apps loaded, so the OS doesn’t have too much running in the background. I of course also installed BabyCam Monitor Demo to make sure it worked on the Moment and the wifi streaming worked. All went well. I also added iBaby, an app for recording various occurrences with your baby (feeding/diaper changes/growth chart and more).