• Google's Android phone app to turn on household lights

Android is the top smartphone operating system in the United States, and the phone can now become the first mass-market bridge between the virtual and physical world, with apps controlling light bulbs, home appliances and more, according to

The new Google program called Android@Home will allow Android phones and tablets to turn on household lights, activate speakers in a wireless stereo system or analyze the calories burned on a gym exercise bike.

The first Android@Home products are LED light bulbs embedded with technology that can be controlled by an Android device. Lighting Science Group, a Florida company, is manufacturing the light bulbs and they will go on sale in December.

"The opportunity exists to dramatically change how you control your home," said Tom Benton of Lighting Science. Over time, "we're talking about the elimination of the wall switch."

With more than 400,000 Android devices being activated worldwide every day and a global community of 450,000 independent Android software developers, Google hopes appliance manufacturers will be willing to embed the company's "Tungsten" control technology in their products, and that consumers will be willing to spend the money to buy Google's wireless control "bridge" that will connect individual appliances to an Android device through a home Wi-Fi network.

For more information, see our Energy Efficient Lighting and Energy Efficient Appliances research centers.

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