Google Android Experiments to Showcase Innovative Open Source Apps

Google thinks developers need to push the boundaries a bit more. Today Google announced Android Experiments, a showcase meant to highlight the most creative and forward-thinking projects based on Google's Android operating system. Do you have what it takes to make the showcase?

"Android was created as an open and flexible Platform, giving people more ways to come together to imagine and create," said the company in a blog post.

Android Experiments launches today with a batch of 20 initial projects. These are projects that, in Google's opinion, "challenge in small and big ways how we think of the devices we interact with every day." They range from hardware hacks to Android Wear tools and camera tweaks. Each was developed using the standard Android SDK and NDK, Android Wear, and the IOIO board. 

Landmarker, for example, plays on the concept of augmented reality by turning an Android device's orientation into an interface rife with points of interest and nearby destinations. Users can click on UI elements to get directions to the different POIs. 

A game called TILT is an Android adaptation of the classic handheld maze genre. The app takes advantage of the accelerometer and gyroscope built into the handset to let users control where a small orb rolls around the screen.

A simple app for Android Wear called Time Mesh is a watchface based on the motion of the wearer's wrist.

Other samples include: a watch face that looks back at the wearer; a live wallpaper home screen that freshes throughout the day with classic artwork; an app that lets people use patterns and shapes to create unique UIs; and a trippy selfie app that lets people dive into the "hyperspace of your own selfie."

These may seem like simple projects, but Google wants Android Experiments to inspire others to contribute. Google is opening up submissions to everyone. It doesn't matter the level of skill involved. Google is more interested in new thinking than it is in coding chops. The end project can use any Framework or hardware, but needs to have Android at its core.

Any experiment that reaches the gallery will need to be open source. Google wants to be sure anyone can pull the experiments apart to see what makes them work and, hopefully, find some inspiration in the process. Google hopes the showcase will encourage developers to, ahem, think differently, and create new ways to interact with the phones, tablets, and wearables we carry every day.

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