The Google Android OS was designed and built with mobile handsets in mind, but for some reason, almost from day one, people tried using it for a variety of different devices and products.
Here are a few examples:
Enterprise Desktop Phones
Allan Sulkin reports on NoJitter about Cloud Telecomputers, a software vendor that created a platform for Android-based media phones:
“The SIP-based product includes: an 8″ high-resolution color touch screen display with integrated handset; HD audio; Bluetooth integration to pair with cell phones; and the Android development environment.”
Sam Dean on OStatic gives his angle on this product.
Daniele Alfonso, on his Multimedia Technology blog, shows a HD set-top box proof-of-concept on Android:
“MIPS Technologies and Sigma Designs jointly developed an Android-based system displaying 1080p video on a full HD flat screen display. This HD video demonstration is a major milestone toward the creation of a reference platform for an Android-based set-top box…”
James Kendrik talks about the limitations posed on non-mobile phone Android devices when it comes to tablets over at jkOnTheRun:
“ARCHOS is pushing the envelope where its Android Internet Tablets are concerned. Putting the phone OS on a web tablet is an interesting use of the Android platform…”
Gagan Biyani from MobileCrunch covered Barnes & Noble’s e-book reader:
“the nook’s operating system is based on Google’s Android OS. Hmmm… Why would B&N develop the nook based on Android? Well, Android is a sick platform for developers, and they absolutely love building on it.”
While this has yet to happen, Rich Tehrani from TMCnet says people are looking for an Android-based iPod killer:
“I have noticed a trend in the market consisting of people telling me they are waiting for an Android-based iPod competitor which works with WiFi and has a microphone.”
This is probably the most extreme one. Will Park from IntoMobile outlines what Raytheon is doing with Android:
“Raytheon is putting the Android platform to work in their new Raytheon Android Tactical System (RATS) battlefield networking system. The system makes use of relatively cheap mobile terminals powered by Android OS to connect soldiers in the field with other soldiers and military assets.”
ravenll from the VOIP IP Telephony blogs tells the tale about the Vega – a Kitchen tablet:
“Innovative Converged Devices (ICD), unveiled Vega today. The first in line of Android based products…”
Why The Diversity?
If I missed one of the device types which people use Android for – feel free to add them in the comments below.
IMHO this isn’t an innocent mistake or a whim – it came to be simply because the Android OS solves a lot of problems that exist today for consumer electronics manufacturers:
- Finding a cheap, easy to use, modern, embedded operating system.
- Coming up with a framework that provides a solid user interface.
- Providing a platform that is easy to extend by third parties.
- Having the communication part of the end product mostly taken care of automatically.
While some may argue that Android OS falls short in some of the aspects I’ve outlined above, you will be hard pressed to find an alternative for it that gives a better solution to all of these issues.