Menu
Beyond smartphones: 12 crazy places you'd never expect to find Android

Beyond smartphones: 12 crazy places you'd never expect to find Android

Android is not just for phones and tablets. Its open-source nature has made it popular for lots of odd applications.

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Actually, scratch that: While it feels like Android has been around forever, the open-source operating system that could has been gracing hardware for five scant years, celebrating its fifth birthday on Tuesday, October 22. And ever since HTC's G1 first hit T-Mobile in 2008, Android has managed to spread its wings far beyond mere phones and tablets.

From coffee makers to freakin' ninja robots just itching to sock you in the mouth, here are the most intriguing, eccentric, and downright weird places you'll find Android. Phones? Pfah. Phones are boring.

Android fridge

Fetching the milk: Also boring. Fetching the milk while pounding out Twitter blasts and futzing around with your Evernote to-do lists: Not so boring. Samsung certainly thinks Wi-Fi-enabled appliances are the way of the future, and it's hoping to speed up the revolution with Smart Fridges that include custom, Android-powered LCD touchscreens.

Don't start drooling just yet. The cheapest of Samsung's Android fridges starts at a not-so-mouthwatering $2,700.

Android washing machine

Everybody does laundry, but nobody enjoys doing laundry. Enter Samsung once again.

The company's $1,600 WF457ARGSGR/AA front-loading washing machine may rock king-size capacity and fancy-schmancy modes, but it's the washer's surprising Android inclusion that's the true star of the show. The appliance's controls come courtesy of an 8-inch, Android-powered touchscreen. You can use Samsung's SMART Washer/Dryer app to manage your dirty laundry from afar. It'll even notify you when the load's done.

Android camera

An Android camera? Who ever thought of such a wack... Wait a minute. Maybe an Android camera isn't so crazy--smartphone pics do kind of suck, and an Android camera would make it easier to slap high-resolution food images on Instagram. It's like two gadgets in one!

Does reality match the multi-device hybrid theory? Check out TechHive's review of the Samsung Galaxy GC110 to find out if Android cameras are more "all-in-none" or "all-in-one."

Android coffee maker

At least Android cameras are actual things

A few years ago, an intriguing design for an Android coffee brewer made the rounds. More than a mere French Press, the so-called "Appresso" would theoretically dock your smartphone to charge it, play tunes through integrated speakers, and make recommendations based on your tastes and moods. Designers In-oh Yoo & Bong-yup Song even envisioned QR code-clad K-cups that you could scan for details about your coffee, or music suggestions that matched the blend. Seriously.

The Appresso never made it past the design stages. Caffeine addiction remains analog to this day.

Sentinels from The Matrix

Oh wait, that's just the Nexus Q, Google's, um, forward-looking collaborative music player. Whew! People aren't fleshy batteries just yet.

Killer ninja master

YET. Witness the smiling, Android-powered face of future Skynets: RT Corporation's V-sido x RIC Ninja Master. Focus on the downward-pointing eyebrows rather than the grin, because this robot--which gets marching orders from its Android tablet brains--was designed to punch you in the face. And if you try to flee, the Ninja Master's bipedal legs will help it chase you down and beat you to a pulp.

Fortunately, this amusing monstrosity has yet to become self-aware. Meatbags like you and me have to control the robot manually, with one person punching in front of a motion sensor to guide the Ninja Master's arms, and another controlling the legs via an app.

Ninja Master's a game, not a futuristic battle bot. Think of it more as Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots meets Real Steel rather than the beginning stages of a killer robot army--at least for now. Here's a video of the Android-powered Muhammed Ali in action.

Smart TV

Not all squawk boxes are controlled by proprietary, streamlined software like Roku or Apple TV's respective solutions. The K91 Smart TV that Lenovo showed at CES 2012 runs Android 4.0, opening up your big screen to the gajillions of Android apps.

Alas, the allure of running QuickOffice on your TV turned out to be not so alluring, and the K91 was never released outside of China. But you can convert any HDTV into a member of the Android army with a 'smart stick' like the $60 RikoMagic MK802 II. (Those aren't so good for actual TV watching, though.)

Your local convenience store

7-11 is a weird place to find Android, but thanks to Google's partnership with KitKat for Android 4.4, a chocolatey version of the cute little Android guy can be found next to Crunch bars and Butterfingers--at least on the candy's wrapper.

3D digital picture frame

Nikon's NF-300i isn't your average digital picture frame. This Wi-Fi-enabled bad boy leans on Android to bring 3D stereoscopic pictures to Japanese peepers, and it's free. Well, technically. Nikon will send you one if you sign up for a My Picturetown 3D membership, which stores your pictures in the cloud and converts them to 3D. Here's the catch: A My Picturetown 3D subscription will set you back the equivalent of $200 per year.

Maybe this is one technology that should have stayed stupid.

The future of printing?

In 2010, HP took a walk on the wild side with the HP PhotoSmart eStation, a pretty decent printer that stood out because its touchscreen controls were plopped on a 7-inch Android 2.1 tablet--a tablet that could be detached and used as a separate slate or e-reader. Android printers have yet to take off, though. (Maybe the sluggish TouchSmart UI HP tossed on the device had something to do with it.)

Universal remote, and I mean universal

Conspin's $350 Andi-One was pitched as a universal TV remote, but Android 2.1 helped this hardware do much more. Beyond controlling up to 50 devices via RF, infra-red, and Wi-Fi, the Andi-One ran more than 100,00 Android apps, controlled your HTPC's keyboard and mouse, browsed the Web, juggled email, and more. You could even use it as a basic VoIP handset.

The jack of all trades approach doesn't appear to have worked, though. Andi-One's webpage lies dead as a doorknob.

Retail point-of-sale units

Android is expanding into the business sector, too. The small footprint and low power needs of Google's operating system is perfect for simple digital signage boxes, and retailers can even buy Android-powered point-of-sale systems for handling transactions. Let's hope they're a bit more hardened than your average Android smartphone.

The Android of the future

Yes, Android is more than your average mobile OS. But Android is still a relative newcomer with a vast sea of possibilities lying ahead. Just imagine...


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesAndroidtwitterhtcconsumer electronicsgadgetsEvernote

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments