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Android Open Accessories: What's the Potential? : Page 2

The new Android Open Accessory development kit enables connections between Android devices and accessories, but what can mobile developers do with Android USB accessories?


USB Devices You Could Design with ADK

USB devices tend to fall into a few categories, all of which seem reasonably feasible for Android:

  • Input devices, such as keyboards, mice, numeric key pads, microphones, credit card swipers, scanners, webcams, MIDI keyboards, and game control pads.
  • Output devices, such as monitors, printers, speakers, and headphones. We'll probably see some of the more hokey output devices, too; we're thinking something like a glowing mood ball.
  • Storage devices, enabling you to extend the storage abilities of your device.
  • Charging devices, such as cradles, solar/wind chargers, and other docking gadgetry.
  • Newer, higher-quality sensors to collect weather, health, and other types of data.
  • Robots. Johnny 5-style bots were wandering all over at Google I/O: hovercraft, RC-style vehicles and smart appliances (vacuums and beyond!).
  • Toys. Just search for "USB" at thinkgeek.com, that geeky stuff website, if you don't know what we mean. USB pet rock, anyone?


A number of companies are already developing board kits compatible with the ADK. The sky's the limit as to the different USB devices you can build and use with compatible Android devices. For now, we expect to see two distinct groups of developers looking at the ADK: hobbyists (e.g. the MAKE crowd) and USB device manufacturers. Within a few quarters, we can expect to see a number of new Android USB accessories hit the market, most of which will likely target the tablet market first.

What USB accessories and gadgets would you like to see tethered to your Android devices? Tell us!

To start developing with the Android Open Accessory Development Kit, start at the documentation page.

Shane Conder Shane Conder and Lauren Darcey--Contributing Editors, Mobile Development--have coauthored two books on Android development: an in-depth programming book entitled Android Wireless Application Development (ISBN-13: 978-0-321-62709-4) and Sams Teach Yourself Android Application Development in 24 Hours (ISBN-13: 978-0-321-67335-0). When not writing, they spend their time developing mobile software at their company and providing consulting services.

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Lauren Darcey
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