Published: 10th Jun 2014
Details of an upcoming Android update have surfaced, indicating that home automation features could be heading to Google's mobile operating system.
Android comes preinstalled on the majority of the world's smartphones, as well as in tablets, connected cars, set-top boxes and other gadgets. Now, the developers are weighing up ways to allow these devices to talk to one another with a minimum of supervision.
This is according to Android Police, which learned of a scheduled Google Play Services update called Nearby late last week (June 6th).
A leaked description from Google reads: "Nearby lets you connect, share and do more with people, places and things near you."
It goes on to detail how the update takes control of a device's Wi-Fi connection and GPS data to detect whether or not another gadget is in close proximity. Two or more devices with Nearby enabled can then, in theory, talk to one another automatically.
Android Police speculated on a wide range of potential uses for the technology, such as the ability for retailers to send "extremely targeted Wallet offers" for Android smartphone owners browsing in high street stores.
Perhaps more exciting is the potential for home automation. A recent promotional video for Android Wear, an upcoming version of the operating system tailored to wearable devices, showed a person opening a garage door with voice commands alone - possibly an indication that Google hopes a host of household appliances could ultimately be compatible with Nearby.
This could allow users to open, close, lock and unlock doors, switch lights on and off, and more - without even touching their smartphones.
Of course, for the smart home to become a reality, fast internet connections will be essential - all these connected devices will bring their own bandwidth requirements to the mix, with many transmitting data to and from the internet as well as between one another.
If your home is in an internet blackspot, however, you don't have to miss out - satellite broadband is now available up and down the UK.
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