Last year's Nimble tablet was approved by none other than MC Hammer. So this year's version... well, you just have to expect great things, right? Awash in a sea of keyboard-free devices we weren't really expecting anything shocking and we didn't get anything shocking. It's still a seven-inch capacitive-screened tablet intended for use at home, replacing a landline phone and connecting exclusively over WiFi, providing VOIP calling and of course all the goodness that Android provides -- Android 1.5. That's a few versions behind where we'd like it to be, but given the stock OS install here that shouldn't be too hard to rectify if/when this device comes to retail. More interesting? A microwave with Android. Intrigued? Close the door, press start, and click on through.
Touch Revolution has developed a board it calls the NIM1000; effectively an Android tablet without a case. It can be dropped into just about anything you like and, while representatives from the company coyly indicated that it's already being used today in an unidentified medical device found in operating rooms, no consumer devices are being made that actually use the thing. So, that's a little disappointing for those of us who don't put on a set of scrubs in the morning, but the company obviously hopes that'll change soon. After playing with Android on a refrigerator, microwave, landline phone, printer, and a washing machine, oddly we do too.
It seems like a frivolous thing, a device like that in an appliance, but in many ways it definitely makes sense -- especially for those who have become tethered to their Android smartphones. The use of online to-do or shopping lists like OurGroceries is an obvious application, as are easy access to recipe databases and the like, but the future seems even more bright than that. Touch Revolution is working with a proper, retail-caliber barcode scanner company, the idea being you could quickly scan any empty package before you recycle it, automatically adding it to a shopping list that syncs to your phone.
On the washer we could envision far more intelligent cycles and, hopefully, the ability to look up just what the heck those obtuse laundry rule heiroglyphics mean. It's all promising stuff, and stuff that could easily be a reality today if some appliance maker decides to sign on. We're guessing it's a question of cost: would anyone really pay an additional $200 or so for a smartfridge over a dumb one? And, will anyone pay the $300 (or so) for the Nimble tablet -- assuming it ever gets produced? About tablet we don't know, but we do know that, with many people having already switched to more effiencent Energy Star appliances in their homes by now, companies are going to need something new to catch the eye of consumers. They could certainly do worse than WiFi and a touchscreen.