View Full Version : Several articles regarding Google's Android @ Home & Tungsten announcements

05-13-2011, 01:57 AM
I wanted to wait a couple of days before creating a thread in the Industry News section on this major announcement.

It's not because I was waiting to see if this announcement was worthy of it's own thread, because I definitely see this announcement as a watershed moment in our industry.

I simply wanted to see some of the articles that would undoubtedly spring up from all corners of the tech world, writers focused on business, as well as the traditional media outlets. I thought I would wait and see which perspectives would be the most interesting to me (and hopefully to the members here at IP).

Here goes...

05-13-2011, 01:58 AM
The Pay Dirt blogs at Smart Money (a Wall Street Journal online magazine) had this to say.

Google Wants To Automate Your Home (http://blogs.smartmoney.com/paydirt/2011/05/12/google-wants-to-automate-your-home/?zone=intromessage)

By Quentin Fottrell

As Senator Al Franken (D., Minn.) conducted a Congressional hearing this week to investigate Google and Apple’s recent online privacy and tracking issues, Google was in San Francisco showcasing its new home automation plans: Android@Home. If the Internet Search giant has its way, it won’t only show you the way to go home on Google Maps, its Android software will remind you that the milk in your refrigerator is running low before you even get there.

As one worried consumer wrote online: “Now Google can know what’s in my refrigerator and send me ads based on what I have in there.” Not quite. Its plans are in the early stages, but as Pay Dirt recently reported, the smart phone may ultimately be used to remote-control your domestic appliances as software and app developers jump on board. Google gave a glimpse of this future at its Google I/O software developers’ conference. Using Android@Home software, Google says these could remote-control your lights or lawn sprinkler system.

Google says there’s not timeline for the development of these remote-control apps, but it says its Android software was always designed to be used beyond the cell phone. “We want to think of every device in your home as a connection to Android apps,” according to Google Product Management Director Hugo Barr. The high-tech world seems more excited about Android@Home than what this means for your privacy. Thomas Ricker, a writer for Engadget.com, says, “It’s with open arms that I welcome Google into my home.”

Technology analyst Jeff Kagan believes we should take Google seriously. He tells Pay Dirt, “Typically, we look at these kinds of far-fetched visions of the future with a lot of restraint like when AT&T at the 1964 New York’s World Fair said video phones would soon be in everybody’s homes, but when it comes to Google we shouldn’t do that. Google wants to give you the ability to control your life from the palm of your hand. It’s a cool idea. Some people are very happy clicking on their lamps and opening their doors the traditional way, but there’s a new generation who can’t get enough of this stuff.”

Would you want Google to know what’s in your refrigerator?

Privacy concerns?? Interesting angle considering Google's track record.

05-13-2011, 01:59 AM
Gizmodo relates the idea of the aggregation of these individual applications being a good thing.

Yeah, we call it 'integration' and it's kinda what we do around here!!

Android @ Home Will Turn Your House Into a Giant, Automated Smartbox

Adrian Covert — Ever dreamed of turning lights on and off with your Android smartphone? Want to push music around the house like iPhone fanboys can with AirPlay? Google is bringing that to you with Android @ Home and Google Tungsten, their latest creations.

Android @ Home will consist of a series of open source libraries which developers will be able to use to create home automation apps on the Android platform. Any device plugged into an Android @ Home receiver will work with Android's automation API's. Imagine carrying your tablet or phone around the house, and if you forgot to shut off a light or appliance, you can do it remotely by tapping a button on your screen. Or, imagine your house turning into a giant, Android-powered media streamer. It's going to use an as-of-yet undefined wireless protocol (we'd guess Bluetooth-related, since it's low-power and will be "open"), which means, yep, you'll need all-new gear for it to work.

Google Tungsten combines the Android @ Home framework with the Google Music cloud, resulting in system of audio streamers in the hope that function much like Sonos or Airplay-enabled devices. In the demo at Google IO, they showed off a little glowing box connected to speakers. Using your Android device, they pushed music to the device from Google Music, and theoretically could do the same for as many connected audio zones as you need.

Standalone devices that used to do this in the past seemed too gimmicky and pieced together to have a place in our daily lives. But because Android @ Home works these ideas into a device that we use all the time, it makes the idea of a smarthome alluring.

05-13-2011, 01:59 AM
The May 10th article on Anand Tech (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4327/google-io-2011-keynote-updates-for-phone-tablet-tv-and-accessories)seems to think that the cloud-based Tungsten music service will be the catalyst to trickle into Android @ Home adoption by Andriod users who start with the music service and then find value with the lighting as well as additional services that will undoubtedly accrue.

Android @ Home: Google's Home Automation Framework

For you home improvement readers who have ever worked with light fixtures, this new part of Android looks quite promising! Ice Cream Sandwich will be introducing Android @ Home, a new home automation framework for Android that enables Android devices to control various household utilities. Google already has this framework up and running for Google I/O, as the floor lamps in the keynote room were integrated via Android @ Home and were controlled live while playing a game. Quite impressive actually.

The cornerstone of this platform will be a new low power wireless protocol that compliant devices will need to be able to receive, and in turn future Android devices will include hardware support for. The demonstration for this included manipulation of soon-to-be released LED lights that integrate the protocol. This initiative would push for integration inclusive of kitchen appliances, security and HVAC systems and media devices. Audio output was highlighted with what’s currently known as Project Tungsten. Currently demonstrated as an edge lit black cube that connects through Android @ Home to the cloud and integrates with the new Music service to allow music streaming through connected speakers. Individual Tungsten devices can be manipulated individually giving Sonos-like levels of control.

Though it was likely not a live demo, Google demonstrated a second Tungsten device that included NFC reading to allow users to add music to their library by tapping NFC-tagged purchased CD’s by simply tapping them to the device. A second tap begins playing the CD. If Project Tungsten takes off as a commercial product it could be the trojan horse that leads people to acquire other Android @ Home devices. This will either be another home automation flash in the pan, or a rather successful initiative to fill and expand a niche market.

The exciting part for developers are the opportunities this new SDK presents as we truly see a nice marriage between software and hardware. The bar has been raised and the future of creativity will hopefully yield some highly competitive and ground breaking applications in the Android Market. More coverage will follow as day two unfolds tomorrow. Stay tuned.

05-13-2011, 09:45 AM
Hey, another company making home automation apps.

The watershed moment will be when they invest or buy a hardware company already in the business so they can cram their apps in. They don't seem to want to be a hardware business.

Otherwise, HA will just be turning on/off lightbulbs and thermostats.