Archive | Android Open Accessory

Hardware at Google IO

So my last post was about how, from looking at the Sessions list for Google IO 2012,  it looked as though Google had abandoned the hardware they presented at last year’s Google I/O. Now that IO 2012 is going on, we have some more information about what they’ve been doing.

  • Project Tungsten has turned into the Nexus Q, a music streaming device that Google is actually manufacturing (and manufacturing in the U.S., it seems)
  • Google launched their own tablet, the Nexus 7

More interestingly for me (and other robotics enthusiasts), is the remarkably quiet news that there’s a new ADK in town.

The ADK 2012 is still based on Arduino, but I haven’t found much info on it yet. The only picture I’ve seen is over at the Arduino blog. Apparently they distributed “a limited number” of them at IO, but it  wasn’t mentioned in the Keynote, like the original ADK was (now called ADK 2011).

Continue Reading →


Lack of hardware focus at Google IO 2012?


android_usb?android at home

project tungsten






The schedule for Google IO 2012 has been released, and it doesn’t look like there are any sessions dedicated to hardware. This is kind of surprising, considering how much attention was paid to HW last year. At Google IO 2011 a good 15 minutes of the Day 1 Keynote was spent discussing the open accessory API, plus Android @ Home and Project Tungsten. There were technical sessions dedicated to the Open Accessory API, Cloud Robotics, and NFC. And remember the giant “labyrinth” game set up to demonstrate on a large scale? Google hasn’t done a whole lot since then to promote these different projects. I’m not sure if they’ve pushed Android@Home or Tungsten at all, although I guess there are some rumors about a multimedia device going around.

Even beyond the lack of continued support for things they announced last year, there have also been a few developments since then that should be worthy of a few sessions, right?

  • Google has an autonomous vehicle, and even a license to operate on the road! But no sessions to discuss the self-driving car project?
  • Google is acquiring Motorola Mobility, one of the premier mobile device makers. Not a whole lot has been said about this, but I guess they’ve been waiting for approval (and I see that just today China has approved the deal)
  • Google is now selling the Galaxy Nexus device direct to consumers, which is a pretty big shift in hardware delivery strategy
Maybe it’s just a little early to tell what they’re up to. Maybe more will be made in the Keynote presentations instead of the technical breakout sessions. But if they’ve actually made some progress on these projects (for instance, if the rumors are true and Android@Home will be supported in Jelly Bean) it would probably be good to start training developers on how to actually implement these things…



Opening up the Google ADK

The Google ADK Board

I thought I’d provide some details on what’s provided with the Google ADK board, and start sharing some of my experiments with it (more to come!)

First, the base board itself is an Arduino Mega 2560 with USB Host shield, pretty much identical to the official Arduino ADK board.

Google Arduino ADKArduino ADK

The Accessory Demo Shield sits on top, and provides quite a few goodies: Continue Reading →


ADK Achieved!

After finally learning the unfortunate news that my Acer Iconia Tab A500 did not support USB Accessory Mode and realizing that I wouldn’t be able to use my Google ADK or do any Android Open Accessory development, I decided to return the tablet and purchase a Motorola Xoom instead.

Well, the tablet arrived, and I eagerly plugged it in to the ADK, and it worked right away, just like it should.

ADK and Xoom running DemoKit

In addition to actually supporting Accessory mode, it’s nice to see that Motorola actively supports a development community at MOTODEV.

Now that I have a working system, it’s time to get started with accessory development. In addition to the ADK, I also have a VNC2 and I just got an IOIO from SparkFun.



Where are the Android Accessory Developers?

At the Google IO Conference in May, the Android team unveiled a few exciting features for connecting Android devices to the external world. USB Host capability, for instance, gives a device the ability to power and connect to USB input devices such as keyboards, mice, and joystick controllers. USB Accessory support, by contrast, allows the Android device to behave as an Accessory, so that another device can be the Host.  This will allow you to plug your Android device in to a piece of hardware and communicate with real-world components like sensors, motors, etc.

My ADK Kit

At IO, they also demonstrated (and gave away) the Android Development Kit, or ADK. This is an Arduino Mega board with a USB Host chip as well as an Android Demo Shield, designed by Google to demonstrate a variety of inputs and outputs. For inputs the board has 3 pushbuttons, an analog joystick, a capacitive touch sensor, a light sensor and a temperature sensor. Outputs include RGB LEDs, relays, and some custom servo outputs.

When I went to Maker Faire in late May, I managed to get my hands on one of the ADK kits. Unfortunately my phone is stuck waiting for the long upgrade cycle of Samsung and AT&T, so it’s still on version 2.2, and doesn’t support accessory mode.

Continue Reading →


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes