updated 06:20 pm EDT, Tue May 10, 2011
Android at Home intros at Google IO
Google promised a major impact on technology at its initial Google I/O keynote with a new effort known as Android@Home. In tandem with Android Open Accessory, the push would encourage developing lighting, audio systems, refrigerators, and other appliances that talk wirelessly to phones and tablets. Users could control the whole home knowing that any Android app could speak to a device.
Among the examples given at the keynote were an alarm clock that could ramp up the lights and a 'real-world FarmVille' that could control irrigation. One example showed id Software's classic first-person shooter Quake triggering lights through in-game actions.
As a subset of Android@Home, Google unveiled an audio concept known as Project Tungsten. Effectively a clone and expansion of Apple's AirPlay, it would at its core let Android users choose a wireless speaker system as a destination for multi-room audio. An extension of the concept shown at I/O, however, used a sensor to help import CDs. Listeners would just have to pass a CD near the sensor for it to recognize the title and give access to the album; a second pass would start playback.
LightingScience is one of the first partners for the home automation and should have LED home lighting using the concept by the end of the year.
Home automation has been an important sub-category of iOS apps and has had a small but significant presence on Android. The new method could make Android a more common sight in automated homes and individual appliances.
Project Tungsten first demo: cube at center is wireless hub that pulses lights when playing audio
Project Tungsten's second demo; central sphere can detect CDs to 'import' and play them back