Ten places you wouldn't expect to find Android

That little green robot is popping up everywhere!

24 Aug 2012

When the little green robot first appeared he was designed from the ground up for smartphones, but he’s gone a lot further than that. Android’s incredible success, some solid software engineering and free-to-use nature has meant that gadget designers the world over have to been keen to adapt the OS for other purposes. Some of these have been strokes of genius, others more like stroke-induced madness. Here we look at ten places you might not expect to find Android.

10. IN CAMERAS AND CAMCORDERS

This article was thought up as a response to the recently-announced Nikon S800c Android camera. The camera is the first we’ve heard of to run the mobile operating system and will allow you to browse the web and run apps from Google Play.

Other phones, most notably from Samsung, already have Wi-Fi connections. They can automatically upload photos to your PC and you can share snaps straight to social networking sites. The Nikon will do all this of course, but with the added flexibility of using any service of your choice, and even the possibility of being able to use your favourite apps (such as the ever-popular Instagram) and their built-in effects filters.

Nikon Coolpix S800C

The first of many we’d think, maybe one day all cameras will run Android, like this S800c

9. IN A MICROWAVE

First seen at CES way back in 2010, this Android-powered microwave was used as an example to show how TTouch revolution tablet interfaces could be dropped into pretty much anything. It never went into full-scale production, but we think it's a brilliant idea that's waiting for the right set of apps to come along.

After all, with an internet connection you would be able to access thousands of recipes (admittedly you won't be looking at anything too adventurous if you're limiting your culinary skills to the microwave) and Android already comes with a built in timer, so half the work is already done. Throw in custom ringtones to let you know your meal is ready, the emergency services on speed dial in case of a kitchen accident and shortcuts to the local takeaways for when your half-assed attempts at culinary excellence inevitably fail, and you've got one hell of a microwave.

Android microwave

There's also a great opportunity for online dating apps, perfect for when you're waiting for that single portion ready meal to ping

8. IN A WASHING MACHINE

Wi-fi enabled washing machines are already available to buy if you live abroad, but if like us you're stuck in the UK they seem like science fiction. Strictly speaking the washers themselves aren't running Android, but talk directly to any Android-powered device running the right app. Not only can you get a text notification letting you know your washing is done, but you can check what certain labels mean, whether it's time to change the filters or if your load is too full using the touchscreen interface.

Panasonic Android washing machine

With the right notifications, shrunken clothes should be a thing of the past

Better yet, you can use your smartphone to remotely start wash cycles, saving you the long trip downstairs once you've gotten into bed without setting it off first. It could be the ultimate bachelor's tool, as soon as the designers work out a way for it to iron and fold your clothes too.

7. RUNNING A GAMES CONSOLE

Probably the most high-profile entrant in our list is the Ouya games console. Android is already host to thousands of games, but they are designed for handheld devices with a touchscreen. The people behind Ouya thought that the operating system and inexpensive hardware used to power it, could instead be harnessed for a more traditional games console

Ouya controller

Though bullish about new content for the Ouya, the controller has a touch-sensitive area to provide some backwards compatibility with smartphone games.

Expected to launch in April 2013 for just $99, this diminutive games console appears to be a largely open platform, with anyone free to develop content for it. The device is based on the current Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, now that’s not going to blow anyone away, especially on a big HD TV, but Ouya aims to bring the inventiveness and small budgets of smartphone gaming to a bigger screen with a proper game controller. Sounds good to us.

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