Will Verduzco · May 29, 2012 at 08:30 pm

Getting Started with the Android Accessory Development Kit

Arguably one of the most exciting topics covered at last year’s Google I/O Conference was Android@Home and the Android Accessory Development Kit, otherwise known as the ADK. What this technology promises to bring is a unified and open hardware ecosystem to compete with the already formidable hardware options seen on competing platforms. Furthermore, programming the ADK is as simple as using basic human-readable Wiring language.

Needless to say, getting started incorporating ADK with your development work is quite exciting, and it leads to numerous development possibilities for heightened game and media immersion, home automation, and much more. However, there are more than a few options available when it comes to selecting the proper development board. This is something that XDA Elite Recognized Developer, XDA TV Producer, and Hardware Hacking Master AdamOutler has discovered first hand in his quest for the perfect (and budget-friendly) board. Adam covers the basics on the Open Hardware Accessory Development Kit (a.k.a the Google ADK), the Arduino ADK, the Sparkfun IOIO, and how the USB Host Shield can be added to the Arduino to make it more similar to the Google ADK.

The Sparkfun IOIO works a little differently from the rest because it functions more as a slave board, and only requires coding on the Android side, and not the Arduino side. This leads to increased simplicity because one only need worry about coding on one end, leading to what essentially amounts to a breakout board for your mobile device. Coming in at just $50, it is also the cheapest option available. On the other hand, the other options require the use of the aforementioned (and very user-friendly) Wiring language, but this leads to more possibilities in terms of functionality when the device is not connected.

On the other hand, the Arduino ADK is based on the Arduino Mega 2650 platform and coming in at $75, is available for not much more than the IOIO. While this involves more complexity than the Sparkfun IOIO, it allows for more discrete functionality when untethered from the device. Finally, one can retrofit an Arduino Mega 2650 with the USB Host Shield for just $32, making it effectively equivalent to the Arduino ADK and the Google ADK.

To join in on the action, make sure to visit our relatively new Hardware Hacking forum. Also, be sure to drop by Adam’s thread to learn more about the differences between the different ADK options. And finally, be sure to tune into XDA TV tomorrow, as Adam walks us through some basic programming using the Arduino.


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