Print 14 comment(s) - last by ShaolinSoccer.. on May 11 at 4:47 PM

Project Tungsten  (Source: ZDNet)
Google's Android@Home turns your Android device into a remote control for your home

Google's quest for world domination continues as it announced a number of major product launches yesterday at its annual I/O developers conference. While much of the initial buzz was over Google Music, the company also a demonstrated a product that hits closer to home for all.

With Android@Home, Google aims to make your home as smart as your phone (at least that's been the prevailing headline among various media reports). 

The scenario laid out is like this: Imagine that your Android-based smartphone or tablet can communicate with your home's major appliances and light bulbs, making it something like a universal remote. Run out of milk and your Android-enabled refrigerator can send you a message the next time it's told through your phone's GPS that you are at the grocery store.

"We want to think of every device in your home as a connection to Android apps," Google Product Management Director Hugo Barra said in the conference's first-day keynote.

A company named Lighting Science Group is currently working with Google to build wireless LED light bulbs and switches that can communicate with Android. The products are expected to hit the market by the end of the year. 

"Google reached out to us, but we were already working on something similar," Eric Holland, vice president of electrical engineering at Lighting Science, told PCMag. 

Google demonstrated the product because it wants developers to begin building applications to automate houses. As an example of a creative way Android could be applied to home use, Google demoed a home theater system called Tungsten. A user holds up a CD case equipped with Near Field Communications technology and taps it against the non-descript white sphere at the center of the system. Immediately, all the music is ripped to the device. Another tap of the CD begins playing the music. "It was pure magic," writes Gloria Sin at ZDNet.

As for appliances that don't have Wi-Fi connectivity, such as a refrigerator, Google said that it's working on a new protocol that will connect any device that uses electricity, but no further details were given.

According to PCMag, the Android@Home network will be "a low-power wireless network used for short-range home automation," similar to ZigBee. The low-cost network will have enough power to wirelessly transfer video -- as in surveillance-camera applications -- but will use less than the typical 12 watts a lamp consumes.

"At Home is going to be huge," DisplaySearch Analyst Richard Shim told PCMag. "I think it's something that's very ambitious. It's what I like to call the next level. Everyone now has this synchronization of data, where you put it in one place with multiple devices. The next step is controlling these different devices, and no one has been able to crack that nut." 

Shim also noted that Android@Home differs from DLNA because DLNA companies integrated the technology on appliances, but left the other side of the spectrum -- client software and devices -- wide open. The new offering by Google addresses both sides. 

Protocols for Android@Home are set to be released later this year.

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Can't wait!
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/11/2011 9:47:53 AM , Rating: 5
Soon my toaster will be tweeting:
"I can't believe this fat ass is making another toaster strudel"

RE: Can't wait!
By therealnickdanger on 5/11/2011 11:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
You don't have to wait. Domotics have been around for a long time. Android and iPhone and even WindowsCE control of lighting, appliances, HVAC, etc. have been around for years. Check out ZWave, X10, UPB, Insteon, the list goes on...

Several of Denon and Yamaha's newest receivers feature full LAN control from browser or app control. My A3000 and different zones around my house can be controlled from a widget on my LG Optimus. Once I get dimmers, a new Trane thermostat, security cameras, or perhaps even the Schlage deadbolt, I'll be able to controll it all using existing open standards and my Android phone or tablets.

I welcome Google's initiative in the arena, I just hope it doesn't end up being proprietary.

RE: Can't wait!
By Spuke on 5/11/2011 11:41:59 AM , Rating: 2
You don't have to wait. Domotics have been around for a long time.
There's just soooo much in home automation that it's almost overwhelming. Might not mean much but I'm impressed!

RE: Can't wait!
By therealnickdanger on 5/11/2011 11:46:41 AM , Rating: 3
That's where I think Google will work miracles - forcing consolidation of standards as to make the process easier and the cost of entry cheaper. I imagine there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth by some domotics companies with this news.

By Aikouka on 5/11/2011 11:12:53 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder why they just don't use X10 ( )? I don't know too terribly much about it and I couldn't stand looking at their page with the flashing graphics for too long, but there are already apps for iOS and Android for controlling X10 devices.

RE: X10
By theapparition on 5/11/2011 11:55:57 AM , Rating: 2
My thoughts exactly.

I have X10 controlled lighting and some appliances in my home, and have had for several years.

You can even do video over X10, although it certainly doesn't have the bandwidth that Zigbee does. I think most of the parts that you need are already available with X10.

However, X10 stuff isn't the easiest to set up, and if Google can implement a system that is cheaper and easier to use, then I think you'll start seeing home automation become more mainstream.

RE: X10
By Cullinaire on 5/11/2011 3:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
You know if there's one thing I don't miss about the internet from years back - it's the stupid X10 banner ads everywhere you looked.

By Mikasa on 5/11/2011 12:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
There are already Car, TV, Microwave Oven, Washing Machine (pictures)

It is fantastic that Google is now officially providing resources for developers to take advantage of this @home series just announced yesterday at the Google I/O conference.

Unofficially, many others have tried on their own to implement Android on many different types of appliances like Car, TV, Microwave Oven, Washing Machine started way back 16 months ago or even longer. Here are some Pictures:

Just recently SAAB of Sweden came out with their own automotive Android car. Check out their cool and elegant commercial Video ):

Folks at this site have predicted this way back in 2008, on their 'Android's Future' paragraph:

I guess there will be more and better things to come with Android.

By ShaolinSoccer on 5/11/2011 4:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
I forsee a hacker or malicious app gaining access to your automated home. Either unlocking it and getting in or turning on your stove while you're not home and causing your house to be burned down. Sometimes pessimism can be a good thing.

By icanhascpu on 5/11/2011 9:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
Went we suppose to have this in the 90s? Hurry up already!

Tungsten a bit too late
By Red Storm on 5/11/2011 10:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
Tungsten looks cool, but it's odd that it relies on physical media, which has been on its way out for a while now.

See ya later BlackBerry!
By deturner on 5/11/2011 2:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
This sounds so awesome! I love anything that comes with a remote control so I can't imagine being able to do it from my phone!

Fulll of Stupid
By Flunk on 5/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Fulll of Stupid
By MeesterNid on 5/11/2011 10:09:12 AM , Rating: 2
You're welcome! And you don't have to deal with it...just don't buy Android-powered devices and QUIT WHINING!

Seriously, they throw something extra out there and whiners like this dude will just look for stuff to complain about.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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