The rice cooker is a humble appliance. But imagine if it was powered by the Android operating system? And how about your refrigerator or dishwasher? Maybe even your toaster? It sounds ridiculous, but BusinessWeek recently ran an intriguing story regarding the many gadgets and appliances today that are coming with built-in Android software. Here’s the surprising part; these devices might actually be useful. So they might pay off big for Google, the force behind Android.
Google’s Android operating system has already been a remarkable success story. Just consider how the system dominates the smartphone world. According to the BusinessWeek story, citing numbers from research company Gartner, Android in the third quarter of 2012 had grabbed 72 percent of the smartphone market share. That dominates its nearest rival, Apple, which could only lay claim to 14 percent of the market share over the same quarter.
Android in your rice cooker: Lunacy or savvy move?
But Google, understandably, wants to see Android’s reach extend further. That’s why the company’s researchers have developed a host of uses for Android in everything from your kitchen refrigerator, to your dishwasher, to your dryer. This move could pay off for Google in other ways, too. For example, it might help them collect details about customer preferences. Google may then take advantage of this to help tailor its money-making search feature. After all, Google makes lots of money through search, an industry that it still dominates. Whatever can help Google cement its grip in the realm of online search, then, has to be considered a sensible economic move.
What would it do?
The second big question? Will it be useful to consumers to have Android in the refrigerator? The shocking response is “yes”. Here’s one example offered by the BusinessWeek story: Say you’re watching your favorite TV show. And you also plan to go out later that night, and you’d prefer to wear your favorite jeans. As you’re watching TV, a note pops on your screen telling you that your jeans need 10 more minutes in your dryer downstairs. Then, rather than walking down the stairs to manually start your dryer, you merely press a button on your TV remote to get the dryer humming again. To paraphrase, Android inside your household appliances might be more useful than you’d think.