Feeds

Android 4.2.2 slides up skirt slightly, reveals a slip of fishnet

Android@Home and mesh networking - not dead, just sleeping

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Obsessives crawling through the minutia of Android's latest changes have spotted evidence that Google's vapourware home-automation system might yet live, and mesh networking too.

The evidence is in an Android 4.2.2 diff of a system configuration file, which specifically mentions both mesh networking and Android@Home (as spotted by AndroidPolice). Android@Home is Google's home automation platform which was announced and demoed two years ago - and hasn't been heard of since aside from one reference to lighting control spotted in December. The platform was supposed to allow gadgets running Google's Linux-based operating system to control and talk to home gym equipment, heating, lights, speakers and other stuff.

The configuration file also contains the first direct reference to a mesh network, a radio-based technology in which each node is prepared to relay data to nearby nodes as well as deal with its own traffic. Android is more than capable of setting up such ad-hoc wireless networks; we've already covered experimental meshing with 'droid handsets. Last week an app popped into the Google Play store for anyone toting a recent Galaxy or Asus device who fancies building their own personal mobile network, but Google's mesh will be more domestic in nature.

Android@Home was announced at a developer conference in 2011, along with the Android Open Accessory API that links hardware to apps and an unnamed command-and-control radio network to turn your home into a network of accessories. Android, of course, is the operating system to bring them all together.

Details of that radio network never emerged, and since then Z Wave has gained market share in homes while Zigbee has dominated industrial deployments, reducing the need and the opportunity for a new mesh standard to enable home automation.

In wireless charging Google support has proven critical: in backing the Wireless Power Consortium and its technology, Google has put companies in the competing Alliance for Wireless Power on the back foot, and in a similar way a ringing endorsement of Zigbee or Z-Wave could swing that debate towards a single unifying device network standard.

Or perhaps Google will enthusiastically embrace Weightless, or come up with something entirely new, but the evidence does suggest that while many of the ad giant's more esoteric projects have been killed off, Android@Home and the domestic wireless mesh isn't as dead as one might think. Here's the 2011 launch as a reminder of what could have been: ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.