Android “accessory mode” to bring game controllers and more to Android

 

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Among the announcements made today was a new “Open Accessory” program that is basically a system for Android 3,1 devices to interact with USB accessories. USB host already exists on 3.0 devices, but apparently that’s from the tablet manufacturer’s side, not Google. The new system will let you connect USB drives, keyboards and mice, but also game controllers. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 controllers were mentioned. With official support in the OS, that should help get developers on board- though Android’s game library isn’t exactly up to iOS standars.

Another great thing about the new system is that Google is releasing a development kit for it, based on an Arduino board. This could be quite a revolutionary concept, though one sentence had me wondering; “Accessories must also provide 500mA at 5V for charging power”. If they actually require accessories to output power to the tablet, rather than receive it from the tablet (like on all the Apple devices), that might kill the idea of any fancy portable accessories. I guess we’ll see. This is Android though, so expect DIY accessories before any major companies release anything (especially because wireless accessories are becoming much more common, leaving USB somewhat pointless).

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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