Random Thought: Why hasn’t anyone made an Android powered WiFi router?

November 27, 2012
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Consumer networking equipment doesn’t get a lot of attention, frankly because no one really cares. You buy a router, it works, and you forgot about it because it’s hidden behind a table. Once or twice a year you have to reboot it, but other than that … why bother upgrading? Sure, there was the transition from 802.11b to 802.11g, then 802.11n after that, and now we’re waiting for 802.11ac to become a standard, but I’d like to propose something a bit different. I want to see someone make a WiFi router that runs Android.

Think of all the things you could do if you had a box that could run applications all day, every day. Geeks call such a box a server. Some of you probably already have a network attached storage device. But I’m thinking big here. Take a look at this Kickstarter project called “AdTrap”. It’s a box that sits between your modem and your router. Instead of installing an ad blocker on your computer, AdTrap removes ads before they even touch your WiFi router. It’s a great idea, but isn’t it just software? Why does such a feature require additional hardware?

Think of all the other things you could install on a router that could run apps. Your torrenting app is the first obvious example. Dropbox could make an app that replaces your NAS. Someone could make a peer to peer social network that doesn’t require a massive server farm. Opera could make an app that routes all your network traffic through their compression algorithm. Facebook could make an app so that all your friends can use your WiFi network should they happen to be visiting. The possibilities are endless!

How would one even install and configure apps on such a router? In much the same way that it’s done today. You type in an IP address, username, password, and you’re in. If Chinese companies can make sub $100 Android phones that have 3G and GPS, then surely someone could make an Android powered WiFi router.

Am I insane or do you think there’s something to this idea?

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