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Do You Really Need a Microwave or a Washer-Dryer Running Android?

Illustration for article titled Do You Really Need a Microwave or a Washer-Dryer Running Android?

Phones, GPS, computers... Do we really want to give Android the power to control our washer-dryers and ovens and printers too? Would someone hack them to microwave your underpants, wash your soup, and dry your pizza?

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It probably doesn't matter. I do it all the time. But better get used to it, because this is what we are getting soon:

This is the NIM1000, an capacitive touch-sensitive Android-based module that is designed to control all kinds of appliances. It has the necessary connections to plug into anything, from kitchen appliances, to printers, and enterprise desktop phones. You can't buy it, however: It's designed for manufacturers of these products.

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Made by Touch Revolution, the NIM1000 module will be demonstrated at CES in these appliances and gadgets, showing what features they can get. The washer dryer has slide touch-screen controls, stain guides, and a way to interpret the extraterrestrial symbols that come printed in clothe's labels. The microwave, according to Touch Revolution, "doubles a kitchen control center," with widgets to play Pandora, show a photo of your dog, read the news, a web browser, and timers for both the oven and the burners.

Do you need your microwave to be a kitchen command center while I play music and watch pictures of my dog in it all day, while posting for Gizmodo through the web browser? I don't know about you, but I'll be there like shareware.

Wouldn't you? Yes, this reminds me a bit of the old dot.com era, when everyone and their dogs put Java or Windows CE in every single thing out there. And we all know how that ended.

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DISCUSSION

I can see some applications being good...Make a fridge door with an OLED multitouch screen. Drag your kids' school pictures around, put them next to the [AllRecipes.com] recipe for Chicken Marsala that you opened up in a browser window. Make a list of groceries that you need, and then send them to your Android enabled cell phone so that you know what to buy when you're at the store.

This is something that we had been promised would be coming 15 years ago, as I remember reading an article alluding to this technology in a Wired magazine, talking about Java and Windows CE in everything. Where is it? It's with the videophones, flying cars, and meals in a pill.