Android Open Accessory Platform Announced, Alongside ADK Hardware

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer may be credited with the "developers, developers, developers" chant, but those devs are just as important to Google. Without them, the devices based on Android would be gutted from an applications standpoint. But it seems that Google is ready to move beyond software. At Google I/O this week, the company introduced their new Android Open Accessory protocol as well as a new ADK. That ADK is a physical piece of hardware; a reference design based on a standard Arduino.

Seasoned hackers and DIY experts will recognize that name, and now, Google's using it to power a whole host of devices that extend well beyond the smartphone realm. The board can be integrated into robots, exercise machines, and pretty much anything else that can support USB and needs to interface with a smartphone. The ADK currently supports Android 2.3.4 and the forthcoming 3.1 for tablets, and while Bluetooth support is promised in the future, it's wired or nothing right now.

Android may be most familiar with smartphones, but with an introduction like this, it's only a matter of time before it branches out in a big way. Android-powered kitchen appliances? Not such a far-fetched idea anymore.