Google doesn’t just want you to have Android on your phone or on your tablet, or on your television, or just a combination of these. It wants you to have Android in your ligting, in your toaster, your washing machine, your blender, or whatever else developers can come up with.
Google announced the Android Open Accessory and Android @ Home today, which together paint pictures of a future where your various home devices are connected via Android as a protocol, and interact with one another.
“Essentially, Google wants users to use their smartphones and tablets to control lighting, turn on the water for sprinklers, and have a smart wake up system where the alarm will slowly increase its volume and the lights will automatically turn on to wake you up gradually,” says GottaBeMobile’s Chuong Nguyen. “Imagine, as Google says, a real life Farmville where developers can use Android @ Home to create a watering system for their garden–do a good job and your vegetables will flourish and do a poor job and your flowers will perish.”
One company, Lighting Science, will actually be selling Android-ready lighting merchandise by the end of this year.
This is Android @ Home, and it is reportedly designed to let users utilize the technology with their existing appliances over the electrical system.
Google also spoke about something called Project Tungsten, which uses the newly announced Google Music beta and NFC technology to let you play physical CDs on a stereo, without actually having to insert the CD.
Open Accessory comes in at the API level so that devices can tap into the protocol. Here’s the relevant section of Google’s I/O round-up today from the Google Blog:
“From the beginning, Android was designed to extend beyond the mobile phone. With that in mind, we’ve developed Android Open Accessory to help developers start building new hardware accessories that will work across all Android devices. We previewed an initiative called Android@Home, which allows Android apps to discover, connect and communicate with appliances and devices in your home. We also showed a preview of Project Tungsten, an Android device for Music Beta to give you more control over music playback within the Android@Home network.”
Google also announced partnerships with Verizon, HTC, Samsung, Sprint, Sony Ericsson, LG, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Motorola, and AT&T that will ensure devices are able to be kept up to date with the latest version of Android within 18 months.