Android is a great operating system for smartphones, tablets, and even TVs, but it doesn’t have a lot of hooks to allow stuff beyond what’s built into the device to talk to it. With an announcement at Google IO, that’s about to change.
The new Android Open Accessory standard (and accompanying software development kit) will allow external USB hardware (and eventually Bluetooth hardware as well) to “interact with an Android-powered device in a special ‘accessory’ mode”. Think of the functionality of the proprietary car and desktop docks for the Google Nexus One made available for any Android-powered device — and not just smartphones.
“When an Android-powered powered device is in accessory mode, the connected accessory acts as the USB host (powers the bus and enumerates devices) and the Android-powered device acts as the device. Android USB accessories are specifically designed to attach to Android-powered devices and adhere to a simple protocol (Android accessory protocol) that allows them to detect Android-powered devices that support accessory mode.”
Essentially, this allows third-parties to build an accessory that will work with any Android (running versions 2.3.4+ or 3.1+) and will usher in a new chapter in “made for Android” docks, cradles, multi-function devices, and more. Over the coming months we’ll begin to see alarm-clocks, speakers, maybe even exercise bikes and treadmills begin to crop up for your Android. Not only that, but a new generation of “universal” car-docks and multi-media docks will likely be introduced as well.
Google didn’t stop there, if you’re familiar with the Arduino and all the cool projects that you can do at home with this open-source micro-controller platform, you’ll be excited to hear that the Android “ADK” is based on the Arduino Mega2560 and Circuits@Home USB Host Shield designs which they’re now referring to as the “ADK board”.
Head to the source for more information.