Android Dips Its Toes in Home Automation with @Home, Will Have App Market Support for Google TV by Summer


android honeycomb graphic

This morning was day one of Google I/O 2011. Lots of great new technologies and platform advancements were revealed today, but the three our readers will be interested in is Android Accessories, Android @Home, and Project Tungsten. Oh, and I guess Android Market: Movies (compatible across phones and tablets), which provides the ability to stream with a connection or “pin” a movie for instant download to watch later. By the way… everything is “Android” now and apps will — as we’ve said before — work across various platforms and displays. In other words, one app can support the phone, tablet, and TV via auto-detection and device specific rendering.

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Android Accessories (time: 35:26): this is essentially an API for Android devices that hardware developers can leverage to enable their products to connect with our phones via USB, providing additional interactivity and/or control mechanisms (most likely a wireless implementation is in the works). The example Google showed off is a workout cycle that can connect with an Android phone to provide users data on their progress, as well as a game layer to make the workout a bit more entertaining. Android Accessories will also give Arduino hobbyists even more tools to make killer homebrew projects.

Android @Home (time: 42:20): this is Google’s play into home automation. They’re lining up partners to create devices that will integrate with Android as the control hub. No specific details on how Google plans to accomplish this, but it’s exciting nonetheless for the reason that any app developer can tap into the @Home API to help users manage their HVAC, lighting, appliances, etc.

Project Tungsten (time: 46:00): this technology may very well be part of @Home, but it does some intriguing things that you’ve may have seen before. Tungsten enabled devices can function like a Sonos, allowing users to direct music to a zone or multiple zones. What’s more, it pulls in a user’s music selection from their Android Market cloud. My guess we’ll be seeing this integrated into Google TV and possibly see this same type of tech work with video — no need for a dedicated home media server or PC. Another neat trick Tungsten provides, is NFC recognition. Google demonstrated how a user could swipe a NFC tagged CD music case to tell the device to play that album, stop, or play another swiped selection (basically this idea).

In Google TV news…

Google will turn the switch on Android Market for Google TV this Summer with its Honeycomb update. In addition, Google stated its stable of Google TV partners will include: Logitech, Samsung, Sony, and VIZIO. Additional details will be made available at the upcoming Google TV developer session (5/11 | 1:45-2:45pm LIVESTREAM) and possibly in tomorrow morning’s keynote. FYI, Honeycomb 3.1 supports game controllers! Google showed off an Xbox 360 controller working with the XOOM tablet (time: 11:40). It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see controllers being compatible with Google TV boxes. Google TV game console anyone?




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Filed in: Home Controls, Industry Buzz, Portable Media Players, Software, Streaming Media Devices