Android Home Automation: Another Standard?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

At Google I/O yesterday, Google announced the next version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich, due in the fourth quarter.

But this week it released Android 3.1, an update to Honeycomb, designed for tablets. This enhancement lets Android tablets connect to USB devices, while Android@Home transform an Android device into a home automation controller.

Engadget’s Thomas Ricker says that Android@Home is the best — and worst — thing that could happen to home automation. Why? It’s a new standard.

Home automation protocols include Z-Wave (900M MHz), Insteon (similar to the X10 standard with 900 MHz), ZigBee (900 MHz and 2.4 GHz with mesh), and X10 standards (using the electrical circuit). Now we have another standard from Google.

Based upon their conversations with Google at I/O, Android@Home will use a mesh networking protocol that functions in the 900MHz frequency bands just like Z-Wave — but it’s not Z-Wave.

Google’s own wireless protocol, teamed with Android@Home framework, lets Android apps discover, connect, and communicate with electrical appliances and devices in the home such as your phone system.

RT Corporation, a Japanese developer of robotic technologies, announced a new RT Accessory Demo Kit that includes the ability to interface with a wide range of sensors and control output devices like LEDs and motors. Google demoed a prototype wireless LED lightbulb from Lighting Science, an interactive tilt-box game, and an Android@Home media hub.

The hub reference design, aka Project Tungsten, combines a Music Beta endpoint with a bridge to your home network.

Engadgets Thomas Ricker says;

“The way I see it, the incumbent industry players could rally behind Google’s new networking standard (and enormous brand recognition) or distance themselves from Google entirely resulting in the further fragmentation of the home automation scene.”

Google’s Android home automation initiative can control lights, irrigation systems, and whatever else is electronically reachable. While Google is working on a new protocol to attach such devices, it also works with USB to start, and Google plans a Bluetooth interface later, according to C/Net.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 at 8:21 am .

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