Android developers look beyond mobile phones

Android may only be used in one mobile phone but interest in the wider consumer product development community is starting to grow.

Californian touchscreen start-up, Touch Revolution has created a custom software installation based on Android which can be used in a range of non-mobile consumer products.

This indicates that developers are looking to use the open source Android operating system, created by Google, in products other than mobile phones, the initial target for Android.

A key to Touch Revolution’s software is that it will support a wider range of screen sizes.

“Google has targeted mobile handsets to date with Android, and the baseline Android distribution has support for a limited set of screen sizes. Touch Revolution has created its own custom software installation based on Android and plans to support features such as multiple screen sizes and non-mobile phone support,” said Touch Revolution.

Broadcom is another company involved in Android-related developments and its Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM software interface has been integrated in the latest version of the Android operating system.

“We are committed to advancing the Android platform by contributing our software and facilitating greater access to our combination chips in the open source community. We expect a plethora of products and applications to evolve from the connected Android platform in the not-so-distant future,” said Chris Bergey, director of Broadcom’s embedded WLAN line of business.

The attraction for Broadcom is that the Android platform includes native support for its wireless chipsets.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM technologies are all becoming features of mobile phones, but the short range wireless capability would also be applicable to non-mobile phone applications such as set-top boxes and TVs.

Introduced last October by Google as an open source operating system for mobiles, Android includes an operating system, middleware and specifc mobile applications including support for touch control and a framework for controlling the download and installation of applications.

But the key is that the Android platform is available as an open source project with an Apache 2.0 open source license option, enabling third-parties to use, modify and distribute devices running Android.

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