New Versions of Android Support Hardware Barometers, the Motorola Xoom has One Inside

The list of sensors and gizmos and odds and ends inside of mobile devices keeps growing, and the latest addition might have you scratching your head in terms of usefulness. It looks like Android 2.3 and higher supports a hardware barometer, and the Motorola XOOM tablet with Honeycomb (3.0) features one inside. The use isn’t immediately clear, but let’s speculate.

The most obvious reason for a barometer would be to provide accurate, on-location weather data. While that’s all good and well, the way developers manipulate and use this data in future apps could prove its true ability. We’re thinking something along the lines of apps that take external weather data and use it to manipulate various parameters in the same way a light sensor can help determine when to automatically adjust screen brightness. What sort of things would a barometer affect? We’ll wait for the developers to answer that one.

[via Gizmodo]

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TAGS: Motorola XOOM

  • joedon3

    That could lead the way to a built in altimeter, based on the known barometric pressure.

  • joedon3

    My last comment makes me wonder…. why doesn’t GPS give us altitude?

  • Justsomeguy

    It’s about as usefull as a gyro

  • Dilbert

    With cellular triangulation and data from the millions barometers soon to be in everyones phone perhaps we’ll have better weather prediction.

  • Dilbert

    @joedon3 – GPS does give you altitude. :)

  • Jim

    GPS does give you altitude, but it’s very inaccurate, just because of the geometry between you and the satellites. A barometer could help a lot with altitude readings.

  • mike

    maybe to let u control the temperature in ur home…

  • Sean

    My guess is that hardware barometers are required to open up the realm of building interior mapping. Could see some very cool stuff come out of it.

  • dork

    what are barometers?

  • jdog25

    They are doing the same with NFC on the Nexus S. They are trying to encourage people to use this hardware by adding it into the best tablet.

  • Pongo

    At last, an android flyfishing aid

  • drspikes

    I’m certainly not leaving mine outside to act as a weather station for the cloud!!! :-p

    GPS is extremely accurate at altitude but you need a lock of more than 4 satellites for this. (With 4, to get an accurate position, it has to assume one variable, and the easiest one is to assume that the receiver is on the ground)

    Wikipedia is a marvellous thing!

  • Dilbert

    @dork – A device that measures atmospheric pressure. Useful for weather forecasting.

  • Derek

    or else it’s another way for google to grab random data from users and create an accurate instant weather forecasting service!

  • Alma

    Ballistic calculations?

  • Mike

    2012 is coming this will come up with the warmest place to go

  • Omar Little

    @Derek – I agree, if Google was receiving weather data from hundreds of thousands of units from all over the globe, they would probably be able to simulate weather forecasting much more accurately.

  • curt

    Im with Derek. Maybe its not intended to do anything at the device location. Maybe it is designed to allow weather data collection from millions of points rather than thousands; to improve weather prediction overall.

  • Purplelama

    Barometer also measures the change of altitude at a far superior rate than GPS (which is basically crap for altitude measure).

    Moving the device up or down a few inches will already be measurable by the barometer.

    I know this, because I’m a paragliding flight instructor.

    I can only imagine what kind of cool apps could be created for our sport!

  • DroidFTW

    Seriously, priorities??? that’s way down on the list…..if it’s even on the list.

  • Bartles

    As a precision target shooter, I would like to have a barometer on my phone. It would allow me to calculate density altitude which I can then use to tune my ammunition and keep the rifle in tune for current conditions.

  • Eric

    I dont understand why Google would want to collect that data if a majority of our time we are indoors. Whether it be on a tablet or a mobile phone.

  • AntonS

    I think it’s mainly for better altitude measurements:

  • dennis

    Android is also used in other things besides your phone and tablet.. Your car warning you of impending rain, show, or tornado is one use.. Not that this would not also be useful in a phone or tablet.

  • Kwaping

    I think Bartles’ reply (#21) nailed it. Military application for ballistics.

  • Ian S


    Atmospheric pressure is the same inside as it is outside.

  • Joker

    OMG it has a barometer I definitely am going to buy this now

  • Chris93036

    “A BAROMETER is a scientific instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. It can measure the pressure exerted by the atmosphere by using water, air, or mercury. Pressure tendency can forecast short term changes in the weather. Numerous measurements of air pressure are used within surface weather analysis to help find surface troughs, high pressure systems, and frontal boundaries.”
    I understand what you guys are talking about now. lol

  • OhSnap!

    It will be to detect when the device is getting rained on and activate the screen wiper and on-board umbrella. ;)

  • riversidekid

    Now I need an app that can monitor the barometric pressure and alarm when it changes quickly! (those of us with health issues relating to quick barometric changes need this!)

  • Mario DeBlasio

    Maybe it can be used to put the device in airplane mode and disable the cellular modem? cause we all know how dangerous it is to leave your cell phone on during air travel.

  • ledmirage

    Why you guys only relate barometer to weather forecast? It can be used for indoor 3D navigation !! If we have detail floor plan of a building, coupled with a barometer, the phone can guide you to stop at which level for your destination.

  • Jim

    It can be used to warn you seconds before you get sucked up into a tornado. Once you get sucked up it can then be used to collect weather data from inside the tornado. Very useful.