Android @ Home makes your home smart, not just your phone

Summary:Google launches Android @ Home to turn your tablet into an universal remote to wirelessly control all your appliances, and unveils the Google Tungsten and Android-compatible LED light bulb.

Google rallied its troops at the Google I/O conference keynote today to build apps on the Android @ Home framework that can make your appliances as smart as your phone, and transform your tablet into an universal remote for your home. It also introduced some consumer electronics designed to be Android compatible.

Imagine if your fridge could automatically ping you on your phone that you need to pick up more milk the next time you go grocery shopping. How about if the lighting and music is synced perfectly with your video game to make the experience even more immersive as demoed on stage? Consumers in the future will be able to purchase an Android @ Home receiver to do just that: to communicate with your Android-enabled applicances, and download apps to control those devices through your tablet or other mobile device.

It turns out the LED light bulbs used in the video game demo were developed in partnership with Lighting Science so that Android devices can "speak" to it. These Android bulbs and switches will be available in stores by the end of this year.

Google also showed off how Google Music (rumored to launch today) works with Android @ Home and its other foray into the consumer electronics business: stereos (maybe music receiver is more appropriate). Because its users' music will be stored in the cloud, the tunes can be played by any device that is connected to the online service, like the Google Tungsten (the box glowed some sharp LED colors when playing music on stage).

The demo of the concept Tungsten device definitely got the biggest reaction from the audience. The prototype initially looked like a non-descript white sphere on stage, next to a pair of speakers. But with just a touch of a CD, all the songs were ripped to the device, while a second touch of the same disk pushed the songs to speakers. It was pure magic.

For those appliances like a fridge that simply don't have Wi-Fi connectivity, Google said that it is working on a new low-cost protocol to connect any device that uses electricity but did not offer any specifics.

Follow the latest Google I/O 2011 coverage on ZDnet:

[Images taken from video clip: Gizmodo]

Topics: Android, Google

About

Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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