Search giant Google said its Android operating system — initially developed to power higher-end smartphones — could eventually support non-computer devices such as household appliances.
At a joint T-Mobile and Google media event, Andy Rubin, Google’s vice president of engineering, said he had met with hardware companies that showed him different non-computer devices running Android — ranging from robots, GPS terminals and even refrigerators running the software.
He added that Android was designed for devices other than mobile phones in mind.
“We are agnostic to the physical infrastructure that we are running on,” said Rubin. “Fundamentally, we are trying to connect them all.”
Despite the advanced software features, many hardware makers have been slow to release Android devices. But Rubin said momentum will increase this year with around 15 to 20 Android phones being launched.
“Social is a big push for now,” said Rubin.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said that future versions of it’s Android software will support more social-networking features. For example, an incoming call will show a caller’s photo, name and the last update he or she posted to Facebook.
Rubin also added that it plans to expand the ways developers can charge for application through the Android Market, its online store.
Currently, the store only supports Google Checkout — Google’s online payment service — but eventually it will also support multiple billing systems.
T-Mobile, the only major U.S. carrier to launch an Android smartphone, said it will also soon allow customers charge application purchases directly to their T-Mobile bill.