WhaleTech: Why I want Android At Home

via cultofandroid.com

via cultofandroid.com

Mike Elgan writes

I understand the religious wars between iOS and Android, and have deep appreciation for both sides.

In a nutshell, the iOS platform offers appliances not meant to be tinkered with. Apple controls everything, and in exchange consumers get a controlled environment where apps play by the rules, have consistent designs and things work very seamlessly without any effort, optimization, customization or anything else required of the user.

Android, on the other hand, offers user control and it gives more latitude to developers to do things their own way. In the phone market, the Android platform offers vastly greater variety and choice in hardware design.

When some random, non-technical relative asks me which phone to buy, the iPhone is a safe recommendation. It will be easy for them to use. They’ll have an Apple Store to go to if it breaks. There’s a place in the world for phones that are integrated appliances like the iPhone or open platforms like Android.

But for home automation? No way. I want Google.

That’s a pretty fair summary.  But why Google for home automation?

home automation is a category of a gazillion hardware devices — thermometers, smart beds, lighting systems, GPS dog collars, easy-bake ovens (for grownups), intelligent fire places — we can think of hundreds of categories for home automation products, and there are hundreds more we can’t think of.

I want the platform for this to be a wide-open system like Android, where device and appliance makers can grab the code and run with it without getting permission from a central authority.

There’s another reason. I want home automation tied in with Google Now. I want to talk to my house like it’s a person, and have my house give me information and take action based on our “conversation.”

And it looks like that just might happen.

Creative people are getting together, and with the ever decreasing cost of electronics and wireless communications, appliances of all kinds will be able to start to communicate with its owner.

The future where the fridge tells you that you’re down to half a litre of milk is really not that far away.

Google released the 4.2.2 update to Android this week for Google’s three Nexi phone and tablets. Future, top-of-the-line phones will also get the new version.

What’s really interesting about this release has nothing to do with phones or tablets.

A reference to mesh networking in the context of home automation has been spotted in the new code. The reference popped up in the following comment:

Allows access to the loop radio ([email protected] mesh network) device.” 

If you’re unfamiliar with mesh networking, it’s a type of networking that functions a little bit like the Internet itself.

Each device on a mesh network acts as a relay for other devices.

The future where your house could be plotting to get rid of you is nearly here.

But now for the most promising and awesome news of all: Recently, the same source that found the mesh networking comment discovered many new “com.android.athome” references in new code in Google Now, as well as a reference to a “Card” for turning lights on and off.

(Home automation systems always start with lights, because they’re so simple. The control is either on or off.)

But you can imagine a Google Now “card” for every conceivable home automation appliance in your home.

I don’t know about you, but the very idea of Google Now being the interface for home automation makes me feel all funny inside. (In a good way.)

This is going to take a while to shake out.  We need an open home appliance communications standard for example.  But you can see what will happen.  Enthusiasts will just be tinkering with this like mad.  And where home automation was previously the domain of the very rich, the day where you can check on the milk in the fridge from your phone before driving past the supermarket isn’t that far away.

It will be cheap, highly integrated, and only limited by imagination.

Add Google Glass, and… I can’t wait.

 

Source:  Cult of Android

 


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  • Orange

    “When some random, non-technical relative asks me which phone to buy, the
    iPhone is a safe recommendation.” But one that might be twice the cost for exactly the same hardware, both made by Samsung.

    • I’m an all Google/all Android household for everything that isn’t a PC, but recently my mum (77) asked if she should get a tablet, and I really had to suggest an iPad. The number of times I have to go and make the “disappeared” icon on her PC Desktop “come back”, I don’t think I want to leave her with an Android Launcher. It may not happen very often, but occasionally an iDevice is the correct choice ;)

      • Orange

        But one that might be twice the cost for exactly the same hardware, both made by Samsung.

        • Yea, but made for idiots (Sorry Mum)

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