Google announced on Tuesday a new feature of the Android operating system called 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. Android @ Home framework can be used to control gaming consoles, lighting, appliances, irrigations systems and anything else developers can envision. Google also announced project tungsten as part of the Android @ Home product, which consists of a hub that runs the Android OS and the Android @ Home framework. Among the functions of a Tungsten hub, as shown off on stage at Google I/O 2011, is the ability to stream music directly from Music Beta by Google to any supported home audio device. Android @ Home is completely open and developing with the framework requires no fees and no registration.
Google just announced Android Open Accessory, which will allow developers to create accessories that take advantage of software installed on Android devices. Google will offer hardware and software support for the open accessory design kit (ADK) there’s no approval process or fees. In one demo, a Google employee showed off a device with a USB accessory called CardioQuest for monitoring his heartbeat while exercising. In another, a user controlled the classic labyrinth board game using his tablet. In yet another demo, Google demoed the power of its ADK with a life-sized labyrinth controlled by a tablet. Android Open Accessory allows accessory makers to create apps that take advantage of the accessory — if an owner plugs a device into their phone, the user will be prompted to install the corresponding software. It’s available for Honeycomb and Gingerbread devices and works with USB now but Bluetooth support is coming in the future.