Android has had a huge growth over the last few years. Back when Android was first showcased on a QWERTY prototype, it could be easily noticed that it was intended to compete with BlackBerry smartphones. By the time Google brought the first Android powered smartphone onto the market, it was molded into an entirely different platform, one that has been targeted to be an iPhone competitor. Now, Android is the go-to operating system from smartphones to tablets or smart TVs. Android has also paved the way for a deluge of affordable handsets and tablets that are starting to become more and more common. But here are 5 types of device categories that no one would’ve thought would actually use Android, either pure or customized.
1. Wearable Computing Devices
Android used to be criticized for being too hardware heavy when compared to Windows Phone or iOS. But with Android 4.xx, Google has managed to heavily optimize and expedite Android that even devices such as Google Glass and various smartwatches, which are low on processing power, at least compared to smartphones and tablets, are able to run Android efficiently. Samsung, with Galaxy Gear and Sony, with their Smart Watch 2, have launched smartwatches based on full-fledged versions of Android. They can not only show notifications from your smartphone on to their own displays, but can also do things like calling and playing back music.
Although there are rumors that Apple will bring their own version of a smartwatch with a heavily cut down version of iOS, they are still a couple of years away from doing that in all likelihood. Meanwhile, LG is said to be joining the fray, and is said to showcase a smartwatch called G Arch and a fitness tracker by the name of G Health at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next year. The G Arch smartwatch will offer similar functionality to that of the Galaxy Gear, and will likely run Android 4.4 KitKat.
2. Android Powered Headphones
This one is truly weird. Back in 2011, Nox-Audio showcased a working prototype of an over-the-head headphones dubbed “Admiral Touch” that was actually running Android on a touchscreen mounted on the headset. Apart from being able to connect to a wide range of audio solutions like the iPod and various smartphones over Bluetooth, it could also stream music from in-built or third-party Android apps such as Spotify. It also had the ability to interface with gaming consoles like the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Users could engage in voice chats with friends through Skype’s Android app, which was installed on it. Although Nox-Audio couldn’t bring it to the market, they managed to prove that it is possible to run Android on devices like headphones.
3. Home Appliances & Home Automation Systems
There are a lot of home appliances from brands such as Samsung, LG, etc. running a full-fledged Android OS. Samsung T9000 refrigerator features a 10-inch touchscreen with Wi-Fi and comes pre-loaded with Android. It runs apps like Evernote and Epicurious to note and browse recipes apart from a calendar, weather widget as well as a tool that shows expiry date for contents stored inside the refrigerator. Samsung is not the only one focusing on Android powered home appliances. MAID, an Android powered microwave oven developed by an Indian startup SectorQube can auto cook unlimited number of dishes by downloading them from the website, apart from making operations simpler with touchscreen controls. There are several other brands which are developing or showcasing smart lighting and home automation solutions with Android based controllers.
LG is said to be working on HomeChat, a smart home initiative that lets different utilities interact with one another. Through HomeChat, you would be able to control your washing machine, thermostat, fridge, TV and other utilities from your mobile. What is great in HomeChat is that LG has used machine learning to make it easier for users to automate their home.
4. Smart Mirror
A Japanese company called Seraku has actually showcased an Android powered mirror for your bathroom that aims to showcase relevant information such as weather and sport scores. Fret not, you don’t have to smudge that mirror with your hands for operation. It is equipped with an RF proximity sensor to know where your hands are placed. It also showcases information regarding water flow and even your weight history.
5. Smart Digital Camera
Yes, even digital cameras are being powered by Android. Nikon first visualized this idea with Nikon CoolPix S800C, which wasn’t a particular hit but Samsung, with its Galaxy Camera showed the world how to make an ideal Android powered digital shooter. Samsung didn’t stop just by releasing an Android powered point-and-shoot, they also released the Galaxy NX which is an MILC in their NX series with Android on board.