SAN FRANCISCO--iRobot hopes someday soon a robot waiter will deliver your food--and it might well use an Android tablet to see, hear, speak, and think.
At the Google I/O show here today, iRobot CEO Colin Angle showed off a prototype called AVA that the company plans to begin selling this year to developers to try to ignite the market.
Today there are two general robot types that are sustainable businesses: high-end, expensive ones for defusing bombs in Afghanistan or monitoring radiation in Japan, and low-end ones for vacuuming. Angle wants an intermediate category and believes tablets will enable that market to develop.
"The third option is the interesting one, with technology advances enabling robots to do things more like Rosie from the Jetsons," Angle told thousands of developers assembled at Google's show. "That's where you all come in. The robot industry can't be trusted to solve this problem. We need the mobile computing industry to come in and save our bacon through things like this."
AVA grafts a tablet onto a mobile robot body that can navigate floors. An Android-powered Motorola Xoom tablet was not just the brains of the operation, but the senses and face as well.
"We in the robot industry realized this is a fantastic head for a robot," with a camera and microphone for visual input and a screen and speakers to let people interact with the robot. "What was missing was the body," Angle said.
Thus, AVA, with a tablet on top of a stalk and a wider base with wheels to move around. The robot can create its own map of an area as it navigates. … Read more
Frisbee Forever is the fully licensed flying disc app that lets you guide a Frisbee disc through colorful obstacle courses. Against a cartoonlike 3D backdrop, you start by flicking your Frisbee onscreen, then guiding the disc through rings and around obstacles, all the while gathering stars as you go. You have the option to use onscreen control arrows, but I found the tilt controls to be much more fun. If you gather all the stars and make it through all the gates to the finish line, you'll be awarded a gold medal along with experience points and Star Coins. … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Google defended its music storage service at a press conference today shortly after it unveiled the service at its developer conference here.
The new Google Music service, which CNET first reported last night, allows people to store up to 20,000 songs in the Internet "cloud." The benefit of doing this is that they will then be able to access the music from any Web browser that supports Flash or Android devices. The service is still being beta-tested and will only be offered to a select group of invitation-only users in the U.S. Initially, the service … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Android, Google's top developer priority, hogged the spotlight at Google I/O today--in part as the foundation for new Google music and video services.
Among the Google I/O announcements today:
Google announced Android 3.1, an update to Honeycomb that adds new interface options, lets people plug in USB devices, and sports a movie rental service that works directly from the device. Android 3.1 comes to Motorola Xoom owners today and other tablets later.
After Honeycomb comes Ice Cream Sandwich in the fourth quarter, which incorporates Honeycomb features but works on phones and Google TV … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--There's more to hacking Android than just customizing the operating system. Soon you'll be able to customize your own Android hardware, Google announced today at Moscone Center West during its Google I/O confab.
The Android Open Accessory initiative and the Android Device Kit, which is built on the open-source Arduino, will let developers create their own hardware accessories that can be controlled by Android. During this morning's keynote speech, Google demonstrated a Labyrinth-style game controlled using the ADK.
Google hopes the ADK will be used to expand Android use beyond phones and tablets.
"Don'… Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Google got a lot of applause at its Google I/O conference, but the loudest came with the news that the company and Samsung are giving Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Android tablets to each of the attendees.
"Thanks to Samsung, all 5,000 of you are getting one today," said Hugo Barra, director of Android product management at the conference here today.
Freebies at Google I/O have happened before, but previously they had always been phones. The move today signals that tablets are Google's front-and-center Android priority when it comes to currying favor with programmers. … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Google announced a collection of efforts to put its Android devices at the center of a host of electronically connected devices--everything from home lighting and irrigation systems to game controllers and keyboards.
It also revealed at the Google I/O show here a small Android device called Project Tungsten that can connect to speakers and home stereo systems to stream music from Google's new cloud-based music system.
Using near-field communications (NFC), Google demonstrated using Tungsten to play music. Touching a CD to a Tungsten device activates the music on a person's cloud-based music library in about a … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Google today is releasing Android 3.1, an upgrade to its Honeycomb tablet OS, and will bring its features to mobile phones with the Ice Cream Sandwich version of the OS set for the fourth quarter.
Honeycomb is geared for Android tablets, which thus far haven't yet attained the popularity of Apple's iPad. Upgrading from 3.0 to 3.1 should offers user interface refinements, a new movie rental service, and the ability to plug in USB devices such as keyboards and game controllers.
The Motorola Xoom tablet on Verizon's 3G service--the inaugural Honeycomb device with … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Google touted Android's spread across the world today, saying growth of the mobile operating system and applications is accelerating.
It's all bragging at the Google I/O conference, of course, but the numbers from Hugo Barra, director of Android product management, are real:
There have been 100 million Android device activations.
A total of 310 Android devices have gone on sale.
There are 36 phone makers, 215 carriers, and 450,000 Android developers.
The phones are available in 112 countries.
It took two years to reach the first billion application installs. The next billion took 5 months, … Read more