The beauty of Android is in its openness – it is what gets it everywhere there’s a CPU.
I’ve written a similar post on the RADVISION blog a year or two ago. It was about weird devices that Android can be found on. This post is different in one small thing: the breadth and richness of the use of the Android operating system is such that makes it ubiquitous.
If you thought Android on phones is fragmented – wait until you see where people have been placing it this past year… I’ve taken the past 2 months to listing posts from the web about devices using Android. Here’s an interesting list for you.
Smartphones, Tablets and Google TV
The boring and known devices. Smartphones and tablets are obvious – this is where Google invests heavily in its competition with the Apple iPhone and iPad franchises.
Google TV is less of a success, but still uses Android on a TV and backed directly by Google.
From here on – it is all non-Google efforts.
The desktop phones you may have in your office if you work at a big enterprise? It has either Linux or some other embedded operating system inside it. And it is pretty much a “dumb” device – no functions other than the ones intended by the manufacturer or in the initial spec.
These are falling out of favor these days because of smartphones, but there are attempts to make the IP phones smart as well.
Tom Keating has a short post about the upgrades of such an IP phone – the CloudTC Glass 1000.
Gamepads were the realm of Nintendo and Sony with their portable devices. These too have died off due to smartphones – where we play today our games.
As most of the new games are being developed with mobile in mind, there’s no reason why a dedicated gaming device can’t use a mobile operating system – Android.
Archos has such a new gamepad – and they are trying to attract game developers to it as well.
Cameras should have died due to the iPhone. They haven’t. we just use them a lot less now.
I have a 10 year old camera a Canon PowerShot S2 – it still takes better pictures than any phone I have tried. I just don’t take it as much as I used to – only when I know in advance that a phone isn’t going to be enough to capture the moment properly.
Nikon now offers an Android camerea… read what Simon Judge writes about it from the point of view of developers and apps for cameras – it makes me think what should go into it.
The iPad is killing the ultrabook? Probably. Until that happens, GoNote is a laptop that uses Android.
My father-in-law actually purchased the Asus Transformer – looking for something that isn’t exactly a tablet, but is small and convenient enough to carry in his business flights. For his needs – it is the correct form factor, as he needs to browse the web and documents during the day, and write summaries in the evenings at the hotel.
If we have laptops, then why not a desktop? Motorola did just that in China.
And then there’s the Mini PC by Rikomagic to think about.
I am seriously considering buying one – it its price point, it will cost me less than a dinner with my wife…
I remember the first time the stewards in a flight decided to reboot the whole entertainment system – it was a joy to see the Linux penguin booting up. Such a geek.
It seems the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can come in a configuration that uses an Android entertainment system. Time for me to book a flight.
Space. The final frontier. And home for technology that is usually 10 years old or more – need stability for these kind of flights.
The operating system of choice for space is VxWorks or even Integrity – embedded “relics” that work well, but not a lot of developers know them – and they cost – both to license and develop. It seems that NASA is now thinking of Android powered satellites to reduce their costs.
Amazon is using Android. But it has changed it to fit its own needs – removing anything Google from it, tightly integrating it with Amazon content and experience, and adding its own special sauce such as the mobile browser they have there (one that allows them even more data mining on their users).
I can’t count these efforts as tablet ones, simply because this is a special case. And I assume there will be more of these – you leave Android almost “as is” so that most of the current ecosystem apps work, and you fit it into your own strategy.
Set-top boxes (STBs)
Set top boxes come in different shapes and sizes. Mainly embedded Linux and Windows CE.
I’ve seen my share of experiments with Google inside an STB. These 2 are just the latest:
- Vidmind, an Israeli company who designed Android streaming STBs for cable operators
- EchoStar, with their Android hybrid DVB STB
Home media device
Google’s own Nexus Q – for lack of a better category, I’ve placed it under home entertainment…
The implications of all this and what can be done with it is left for some future post. Suffice to say that these devices won’t survive without a cloud for now.
Have I missed a category her? Have you seen Android in other interesting places as well? Comment here so I’ll learn about it.
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