Single Use Devices

android.gifI am increasingly seeing demand for apps that will be the only app running on a particular device. This is interesting because it takes Android to new markets and vertical uses. In my case my clients are re-purposing Android tablets for use in hospitality, high end camera phones for use in medical diagnosis and settop boxes to create new consumer devices.

I am also seeing colleagues and developers such as myself start to buy inexpensive Android hardware and use for a single purpose. For example, I have a client who uses small Android tablets as clocks in all his rooms. I know some people use old phones as web cams. Tablets can also be used as single-use permanent photo frames, used as home media controllers (with Chromecast) and single use media storage devices.

However the commercial opportunities are much larger. Think about single use apps that might run on AllInOnes, inexpensive single board computers and rugged devices.

Android makes a great general purpose ‘single-use’ operating system because you can install an apk on any device entirely without Google’s intervention, the APIs are very deep allowing you to do almost everything you would want and devices (especially last year’s devices) are relatively inexpensive.

However, innovation should start with an idea or problem rather than focussing on the solution. Think about an industry you know a lot about and ask what are the current problems. Could they be solved using a single-use solution?