Enterprise Mobility: Google Android@Home, Project Tungsten to Usher In Web-Connected Homes
Open Accessory API
This API will allow developers to support a variety of hardware accessories that enable Android to run on devices way beyond the typical mobile phone and IT environments, such as on exercise bicycles or other household appliances. "Think of it as the beginning of the next wave of Android," said Hugo Barra, Google's vice president of Android product management." This API supports Android 3.1 and Android 2.3, with USB support now. Bluetooth support is forthcoming.
This Life Fitness exercise bike is compatible with Android Open Accessory, one of the exhibitors told eWEEK.
Exercise Bike Demonstration
When the user plugs the phone into the bike, the Android API recognized the accessory and an exercise application that "talks" to it. The really cool thing is that if the phone didn't already have a compatible application, it would send the user to the Android Market to download it.
That Android Market application, CardioQuest, motivates people to work out on the bike. The Open Accessory API has the bike control CardioQuest. The Android has to keep from crashing.
Open Accessory Reference Design
Google released the hardware and software ADK for an Open Accessory reference design.
Google used the Open Accessory API for this cool labyrinth game, controlled by the Motorola Xoom tablet and a new ADK.
Here's the actual Android labyrinth game outside the keynote hall, powered by two 200-volt, 50-amp motors. The object of the game is to tilt the ball to follow a line all the way to the end without falling into any of the holes.
These women use the Xoom and the ADK to control the bowling ball in the labyrinth. It's every bit as challenging and fun as it looks.
Building on the Open Accessory API is the Android@Home project. "We'd like to think of your entire home as an accessory, or better yet, as a network of accessories," said Google engineer Joe Britt. Think of Android as the operating system for your home." Google expects developers to write applications that control appliances in the home.
For devices that connect to WiFi, Google created a new wireless protocol that allows Android devices to talk to various appliances. This would cover lights, alarm clocks, dishwashers and thermostats. Here, Britt shows how to control the lights over the stage and later connects a game to the lights to make the lights flash when a user fires their virtual weapon. Britt envisions developers creating an alarm clock application that will play music when the lights go on.
Another application of Android@Home is Project Tungsten, which includes the Android home hub you see here.
The hub serves as both a standalone endpoint for Google's Music beta and a bridge to the Android@Home network. The hub runs both the Android OS and the Android@Home software framework. The device connects to the speakers and stereo system.
In this demo, Britt shows how a user can simply tap a CD on the hub to upload the CD's entire music playlist to the Google Music cloud service. By tapping it again on the hub, the CD begins playing. The CD jewel case includes a near-field communication sensor to talk to the Android home hub.