Looking for an alternative to the Google-approved Android Development Kit? Then you now have another fairly inexpensive option to consider courtesy of SparkFun. It's officially announced its new Electric Sheep development board, which costs just $80 and will let you build your own Android accessories using the Open Accessory protocol. That means it and any accessories built with it will work just fine with your Nexus One, although there's of course no guarantees it'll work with, say, a future Nexus-6 model -- we hear those might be a bit unpredictable. Press release is after the break, and you can find some additional specifics and an order button at the source link below.
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SPARKFUN ELECTRONICS ANNOUNCES NEW DEVELOPMENT HARDWARE FOR ANDROID

Electric Sheep Gives Customers USB Access to their Android-based Devices to Develop Their Own Accessories and Applications


BOULDER, Colo. Nov. 16, 2011 – SparkFun Electronics ( HYPERLINK "http://www.sparkfun.com/"www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts knowledge and passion for electronics creation, today proudly announced a new product designed to help inventors create new custom Android accessories.

The new product, aptly named the Electric Sheep, is designed to take advantage of the Android system's open accessory protocol. By communicating via USB, Electric Sheep gives users complete dynamic access to the phone's systems and enables the easy creation of custom applications and accessories such as controls for an autonomous vehicle or coupling your phone with a microcontroller such as an Arduino. These boards are not restricted to only Android phones, but can be used on any platform with the Android operating system and a USB port.

"The Electric Sheep is a product we are really excited to announce," said SparkFun Director of Marketing AnnDrea Boe. "This product represents months of prototyping and design by the SparkFun engineers and will give its users free reign to create accessories for the Android system."

On the technical side, the Electric Sheep is based on the ATMega2560 microcontroller and bootloader and features a USB-host connector on-board for quick connection to Android devices. The board allows for the creation of accessories for Android using the Arduino IDEA and HandBag and is Arduino-shield compatible. Even if you don't have an Android device, the Electric Sheep can double as a development platform with all the functionality of the host microcontroller and a USB shield. The Electric Sheep is priced at $79.95 per unit and is now available on SparkFun's website ( HYPERLINK "http://www.sparkfun.com" www.sparkfun.com).

About SparkFun Electronics
Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion for electronics by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects. SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 130 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.