Android@Home – Control all your Appliances

Since last semester break I regularly watch “The Big Bang Theory” an American sitcom by Chuck Lorre (right, the one who did “Two and a Half Men”) and Bill Prady, which is about Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj, four nerdy scientists who seem to know everything about universe and comics but meeting Penny, Sheldon´s and Leonard´s neighbour and aspiring actress, shows how little they actually know about “normal” life.

Honestly, sometimes it´s way to geeky for me but when I thought about a potential topic for my next blog post I remembered the following scene:

I have to admit, it seems superfluous. Nevertheless I wanted to know whether we “normal” people can do something alike. This is when I started my research and stumbled across Android@Home.

Recently Google announced its new project called Android@Home at Google I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco. I knew Android, but I couldn´t imagine what Home has got to do with it.

So I wondered what is Android@Home?

 The framework and associated functions transform an Android device into a home automation controller that connects and directs all of the devices  and appliances in the user’s home. Basically it can be used to control lighting, appliances, irrigations systems and anything else developers can envision. At first the connection between system and home appliances shall work through USB interface; later it´s supposed to work with Bluetooth or WLAN.

 

Then the next question arose: How does that look like?  

With the help of an interactive plan of your house, you could switch on and off the lights as you like. This can be handy if you are on vacation, since you could turn on the lights and television in the evening, which would hold burglars off. Moreover it´s a useful invention if you live in a big house and you just forgot to switch off the lights upstairs. You don´t have to go back you just get your tablet PC or smartphone and push “off”. This is actually what they presented at Google I/O Developer Conference. On stage they had two lamps that had a wireless connection to an Android tablet. Pushing “off” on the tablet made the lights turn off immediately. However the bulbs where from Lighting Science and already had a WLAN connection. Thus, if you want to use it you would probably need to buy new bulbs.

Another aspect mentioned was, that this additional function could interest game developers, too, since it offers completely new ways of interactivity. I started being curious when they talked about how one could make waking up a little more enjoyable. Namely, by programming your stereo and lamps so that they turn on with slowly increasing intensity.

Things you should consider…

Of course this sounds like a lot of fun but what is if you get “hacked”? Is that person then able to decide whether your lights are “on” or “off”? This is not even the worst case scenario; just think about what you have at home that is electronic…

Furthermore, as far as I understood you will need new appliances that work with WLAN or Bluetooth. Thus, while you invest in your new “home” companies who corporate with Google will of course profit.

Actually, the search giant isn’t the first company to present smartphone-controlled wireless technology, but it may prove to be more successful than others, given its reach and influence on the market.

Sonos, a rival home-connected group, already provides wirelessly remote-controlled music services. But Sonos’ high prices keeps it at the high end of the market, whereas Google plans to release the open-source project to the masses.

It seems to be a promising future for Google Android@Home since it is also technology Apple can’t offer yet…

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3 thoughts on “Android@Home – Control all your Appliances

  1. Cool Cool Cool since I do use android applications with my Galaxy S.

    Android gadgets are really cool since they supports Flash based games.
    Yes gadgets are getting more handy with higher specs.
    The fact would bring High spec online game (MMORPG) bigger and bigger.
    I am very interested in since the market is really getting bigger in China and EU.
    Cool blog.

  2. Hey Franzi, great post! You really caught me with the Big Bang theory video in the beginnging because i love that tv show. I think that it is great that this scene led you to your topic and thus to Android Home. I think that it is amazing how fast everything is changing and it is almost like we jumped beyond 2011 to 2020 or something. Android Home sounds like it can facilitate a lot at home. But one thing is a little unclear to me: Can one actually use it from a far distance or only at home? Because I thought that it is only operable from home but you mentioned that it would be good to control it when being on vacation. I think it will become more popular to connect to our house or appartment in the near future. Check out the Microsoft Home for example.

  3. Hey Wanda,
    thanks for that interesting video. Concerning your question, I found this article http://www.bz-berlin.de/ratgeber/computer/google-kommt-jetzt-auch-nach-hause-article1180998.html . I have to admit BZ isn´t the best source for that but anyhow I think at first users will only be able to use it at home but I could image that one can use Android@Home sooner or later from far distance, too, as mentioned in the article. I think right now Google is more interested in getting clients who support their project so that they can launch Android@Home as fast as possible and as we know if a project is launched and it sells good then they will probably work on an upgrade like controlling your home from far distances. Hope that answers your question?!?

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