A pack of medical applications was just released for Android, and it set me a-thinkin’. Although our phones are far from tricorders at this point (but getting closer), Android has a bit more of a versatile position. A powerful smartphone OS and (possibly) a passable netbook or tablet one, it seems like it may be a really good fit for embedded systems. I don’t even want to think about the proprietary systems and decade-old OSes that hospitals are running their diagnostic and records-tracking programs on. With a modern, touchable, and inexpensive to run OS like Android, there could be a huge increase in standardization and interoperability.
Obviously it wouldn’t just be doctors carrying around G1s and stuff. But picture a hospital (or school, or what have you) where the embedded and use-limited devices integral to its functioning are all running Android in some form or another. It acquits itself equally well to a tablet as to a wall monitor as to a handset, and a few tweaks would make it eminently networkable. Of course, this is all pie in the sky, and one could say the same for any number of alternate OSes, not the least of which being Linux in some adaptable flavor. Still, it’s food for thought.
As for the medical applications, damn are they expensive! But they’re established, professional apps that also work on Blackberries and such, so the price is probably are justified.