Of all the things that Google announced yesterday at the Google I/O developers conference, the one I find most exciting is their new Android Open Accessory standards and the Accessory Development Kit (ADK) that goes with it. The best nerdy part of this nerdy story is that the ADK is centered around the Arduino open source microcontroller meaning that a lot of you already have the skills to start developing accessories for Android devices. So, what does this mean for the product designer or engineer?

While currently set up specifically for devices connected via USB, this is HUGE step for the small time, independent product designer/engineer that has been waiting for someone with a development budget to finally come out with the hairdryer/motorized skateboard/robot they want to interface with their Android phone. On top of that, and aside from the Arduino integration, the Android Accessory standards is completely OPEN, unlike that of rival Apple’s accessory standards. That means that you don’t have to go through a rigorous approval process only to be allowed to then pay licensing to sell your accessory. So let’s summarize what I just threw at you in palatable bites:

  • Google has released standards to integrate other products to work with Android devices
  • The standards are based on Arduino, meaning that developing for it will be relatively easy and affordable
  • The devices will need to be connected via USB
  • You don’t have to license the standards
  • With a little more work, I will finally be able to control our toaster with my phone… (actually, I have an iPhone. D’oh!)

Three cheers to Google for coming back at accusations of back-tracking on their openness (Honeycomb still is not available open source) with something WAY cooler… at least if you’re in the product design biz…

Source: Android Developers Page