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Arduino Releases Android-compatible Board

July 18, 2011

Arduino is an electronics manufacturer that’s made a name for itself by making a series of low-cost, basic, open-source hardware and software that are designed to be tinkered around with by students, artists, hackers, and others. If you’ve got a little skill in wiring and soldering, you can probably cook up a little device with what Arduino are producing. So what has this got to do with Android? Well, they’ve added quite a few things to their line-up recently that would be a boon for any prospective Android developer.

First of all is the the new Arduino ADK board which is expressly designed for Android developers – which pretty much maximizes what you can do with the OS. You may have heard that Google recently added support for USB peripherals to the Android OS. Well, they also launched an official development kit using an Arduino system board. Well, Arduino is returning the favor by developing a board that’s designed to work with the OS.

So what’s the difference? The Android Development Kit board is your basic Arduino system board, but it’s got a USB host chip added on plus a bigger power supply – big enough that it can charge a phone. Arduino devices usually use a serial and/or USB connection for input; however with the addition of a USB host chip, more USB peripherals can be used for input purposes like a mouse, keyboard, game controller, or other devices.

Plus, if you want to work on a tablet, there’s an optional ADK Sensor Kit that lets you add sensors and actuators easily.

Additional stuff that may help you develop your own Android product is a built-in Ethernet jack. Android devices are online devices – and you need that jack to get online.

So if you’ve always wanted to tinker around and create your own Android tablet – while keeping is as cheap as possible – Arduino’s got the hardware for you.