Dec 5, 2011

What is Android @ Home?

Of the numerous new Android toys announced during the Day 1 keynote of the 2011 Google I/O developer conference, Android @ Home was probably the most vague. The demonstrations we were shown by Engineering Director Joe Britt were, to say the least, extremely cool. From his tablet, Britt demonstrated an ability to turn various lights on and off across the stage, and also showed us how Android @ Home could be used to control the music throughout your house.

The larger point of the parlor tricks was to show us that the sky was the limit, that developers should feel free to take this technology and explore the potential of an Android driven “Smart House”. Even so, I couldn’t help but feel that there were pieces missing from the demo.

More information was offered up at the Q&A following the keynote. Android @ Home is a framework designed to allow developers to create controls for appliances that are either new or that already exist, and control these devices from your Android-powered device.

This framework is not limited to WiFi or Bluetooth, either. Google plans to roll out a spec for a kind of low power wireless interlinking between an Android @ Home hub and a device with a controllable receiver. This will make it possible to attach complex devices like washing machines and dishwashers to Android @ Home without needing to burden the devoce itself withWiFi or Bluetooth dongle.This open wireless protocol, which we’re told will be announced in greater detail “soon”, will help complete some of the goals Google set forth with Android @ Home by allowing your house to be always on, and always connected to the cloud.

Andy Rubin commented on the Android landscape yesterday, specifically in regards to the massive undertaking that things like Android @ Home and the new Android Accessories initiative by explaining that the end goal is to have everything be “Androdified”. He continued by explaining that with these new technologies, Android is no longer something you buy in a store and take to your home or office, but rather something you use to combine those things together.

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