Whatever Happened to Google’s Android@Home?

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With just a few days to go before Google’s annual I/O developer conference kicks off on Wednesday, it’s time to take a look back at last year’s event. Besides announcing Ice Cream Sandwich, Google Music and a number of other new projects, one announcement that stood out from the slew of releases last year was Android@Home, Google’s entry into the home automation market. Google, at the time, said that it wanted to create a service that would turn your entire home into a network of Android accessories, with Android as “the operating system for your home.” Since then, though, neither Google nor its partners have said anything about this initiative.

At last year’s I/O, Google said that it had partnered with LightingScience to launch Android-enabled LED light bulbs that your would be able to control from your Android phone or tablet. At the time, the company said we’d hear quite a bit more about this project in the coming months and even went as far as saying that they would debut by the end of the year. That obviously never happened.

In December, our own Jason Kincaid asked Google about the status of these “magic Android light bulbs,” but the company declined to comment. LightingScience, it seems, has also banned all mention of Android@Home from its site (except maybe for a page about its “Light Ages Distributor Program” that isn’t publicly accessible).

Project Tungsten

One aspect of Android@Home, Google’s Project Tungsten Android@Home media hub, however, reappeared in some rumors earlier this year. At that time, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was testing a new “home-oriented Google device” that was supposedly being developed by the Android team. The device sounded a lot like the media hub Google talked about at I/O last year.

There is at least a tiny shred of evidence then that there are at least some parts of the Android@Home project that haven’t fallen victim to Google’s “spring cleaning” program just yet. Sadly, though, I/O launches have a tendency to just quietly disappear (remember PowerMeter from 2009?), so I don’t think we’ll see any Android-enabled light bulbs at Home Depot anytime soon. Hopefully Google will give us an update about the state of the project during I/O later this week (the conference is scheduled to run from Wednesday to Friday).

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