A few years back all embedded devices were designed like PCs. For example, users understood the use of a mouse and keyboard and could minimize and maximize a window using mouse clicks and launch new applications from Start. The increasing demand and usage of smartphones globally has not just changed the definition of user experience for embedded equipments but has made emerging technologies like touch and display panels, connectivity solutions and infrastructure, affordable to non-phone products segments.
The embedded equipment designers and users have grown accustomed in no time to the smartphone features and technologies like multi-touch, high-resolution display panels, connectivity over 3G and Bluetooth, high capacity storage and medium and low power. For example, today, a machine operator needs a pinch-zoom feature on his HMI to resize a graph plot, a child using rear seat entertainment wants to play a touch-screen video game and users want the device to be smart and connected.
Android is increasingly becoming the number one operating system (OS) distribution for smartphones. With its rich user experience, open source development model, neatly integrated software stack, commercial and community friendly software licensing, vast app and embedded eco-system and above all based on Linux Kernel, fits many embedded products that don’t belong to mobile or tablet segments.
This discussion highlights the benefits & advantages of Android for embedded segments and gives an overview of limitations and challenges in taking Android outside of mobile phone space such as:
A well-known open-source software architect, Jason Kridner is the co-founder of BeagleBoard.org, a robust community where software developers and hobbyists share solutions, showcase new projects, ask questions and offer feedback. Launched in 2008, BeagleBoard.org averages 50,000 hits per week and is now one of the most active open-source communities in the industry. Kridner is also the co-creator of open-source development tools at Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) such as BeagleBoard, BeagleBoard-xM and BeagleBone, a credit-card-sized Linux computer platform based on TI’s Sitara™ AM335x ARM® Cortex™-A8 processor that runs Android 4.0 and Ubuntu software. BeagleBone has spurred innovative projects worldwide such as underwater robots, 3D printers, a dirty dish detector and a real-life Iron Man suit. During his 20-year tenure with TI, he has become an active leader in the open-source community. As such, he has engaged audiences at a variety of industry and hardware and software developer shows including Maker Faire, Embedded Linux Conference, Android Builders Summit, OSCON, CES, Design West, Collaboration Summit and Design East. In his free time, Kridner uses BeagleBone to explore his creativity and most recently created the BeagleBone Mustache App, which uses a webcam and computer vision to detect faces and superimpose fancy mustaches.
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