Google Announces Android Open Accessory Initiative

Today during the opening keynote at Google I/O the company announced the Android Open Accessory program. The aim of this initiative is to make it easier for hardware manufacturers to create accessories that work with every Android device. To that end, Google is releasing APIs for accessories that allow them to communicate with apps and thus your phone or tablet. Currently, this only works with accessories that connect via USB, but Bluetooth support is coming soon.

Android Open Accessories will not only communicate their existence to devices, but also look for their corresponding apps and, if not found, will take users to the Market to download it. On stage demos included using an exercise bike as a game controller and the Xoom as a controller for a physical game — the possibilities are pretty wide. We’re looking forward to seeing what accessory makers have in store. We hope to see a peek in the hands-on areas here at Google I/O.

The hardware API is available to manufacturers now, so we expect to see a nice wave of Android accessories before the end of the year. What accessories and accessory + app pairings are you hoping to see?

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